Sunday, October 16, 2016

Occupational shift from country to city

As a follow-up to the job posts, I thought I'd use my ancestors as an example of how occupations shifted as folks drifted from a rural to an urban setting. Most of my 17th, 18th and early 19th century ancestors were farmers and millers. A few worked as tanners, masons, blacksmiths, wheelwrights and merchants. That changed as the late 19th and early 20th centuries rolled around, that changed.

Among my own people, jobs as night watchmen in factories, salesmen, hack and wagon drivers and day laborers were common. Others turned skills into careers [carpenters, sawyers, etc.] Still others opted for new careers altogether. My great-grandfather, James Crail turned in his blacksmithing tools for a career as a veterinary surgeon.

Some careers carried over into the new century: riverboat and railroad workers and engineers easily made the transition [provided they could keep up with the technology.]

Others had to learn new skills or adapt their skills to new opportunities. Many blacksmiths and wagon makers transitioned to the automobile industry.

Still others chose new professions altogether!

Oh yeah, the ladies! Housewives, salesclerks, seamstresses, dressmakers, teachers and a few opened their own businesses. It would take World War II to bring about the really revolutionary changes.

No comments:

Post a Comment