Sunday, October 9, 2011

Yes, I do read the encyclopedia for fun!

Okay, I admit it - I am a nerd. I read dictionaries, thesauruses, encyclopedias, even phone books for fun, entertainment, and education.

But today I out did myself - I read through 40 pages of the 1860 Census of Fort Edward, Washington County, New York - not because I was looking for someone or trying to breakdown a brick wall, but because the occupation "Marble Dresser" caught my eye. I was on the phone with my sister at the time and I started to read her some of the interesting occupations I found. We continued chatting a few more minutes and then hung up, but I kept on read the occupations. 40 pages worth!

Fort Edward was established in 1818 and in 2000 had a whopping population of 5800 residences. It was the home of the Fort Edward [Collegiate] Institute. Annie Brown attended the FEI in 1863, and my sister has Annie's autograph book, which I am transcribing and trying to find out what I can about the people who signed her book.

Now I do have to explain that I read a great many census pages in the course of my research, but most of the Brown family lived in rural settings where everyone was a farmer, housewife, or student. This amazing diversity of occupations was exciting and thought provoking to me.

So, if you are a nerd like me (and your probably are if you have been bitten by the genealogy "bug") here are some of the many occupations I found:


Carpenter
Housewife
Housewifery
Sawyer
Millwright
Laborer
Marble Dresser
Merchant
Tailor
Sewing
Artist
Author
Pottery
Harness Maker
Grain and Lumber Dealer
Cabinet Maker
Joiner
Moulder
Cart Man
Manuf. Small Beer
Barber
Porter
Boot Black
Liquor Dealer
Inn Keeper
Carting
Boot and Shoe Maker
Druggist
Blacksmith
Pump Maker
Furnace Man
Laundress
Fan Mill Maker
Collector of Tolls on Canal
Agent
Music Teacher
Boatman
Saloon Keeper
Silversmith
Peddler
Printer
Livery
News Depot
Meat Market
Stage Driver
Hat, Cap & Fur Store
Sash & Blind Maker
Folding Paper
Paper Finisher
Gardner
Conductor in Cars
Paper Maker
Teacher in Union School
Editor Ft Edward Ledger
Putting up Lightening Rods
Pattern Maker
Lock Tender

What is the difference between "Housewife" and Housewifery" ?
A "Fan Mill" separates the grain from the chaff through a series of screens.
"Small Beer" refers to beer manufactured in small quantities with steam.
"Moulder" refers to a wood cutting machine used in furniture manufacturing.
What does a "Paper Folder" do all day?
A "Lock Tender" works the locks on the canal ways, he does not tend a flock of locks!
Interestingly the richest person was the Liquor Dealer. 

Hope you enjoyed this side trip.  I had fun finding all the cool jobs!

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