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Friday, 10 April 2015

A-Z Challenge: J is for Jobs & Jewellery

A-Z of Family History Sources & Stories 
Join me on this A-Z journey to explore the fascinating records 
that can  enhance your family history research and writing.

JOBS Work was a major part of our ancestors' lives, with long hours the norm.  So the more we can find out about their working life, the greater the rounded picture we bring to a family  history.  

My Danson family came from a rural part of Lancashire in north west England, so jobs on the land were the norm - whether it be Ag. Lab, husbandman, carter, or cowman, with two generations reaching the status heights of being described as yeoman farmers. It was all change in the 1860's when my great great grandfather Henry Danson of Trap Farm, Carleton  left farming  and became a toll collector at the newly built Shard Bridge over the River Wyre, near Fleetwood, Lancashire.

Great Uncle George at his station bookstall
This was an age of great social change, from rural to urban life.  The period saw the rise of the seaside resort of Blackpool and fishing town of Fleetwood with a predominant theme -  the impact of the railway. 

New occupations appeared in the census entries for the family - pointsman, railway telegraph clerk, railway porter, railway coach examiner, and railway labourer, with a related trade that of my great uncle George (right)  who worked at W. H Smith's newsagent stall on station platforms. 

Trades in the family  also included coal merchant, rope dealer, and even tripe dealer, with Danson daughters marrying  a shoemaker, joiner, innkeeper, and watchmaker.  The women were undertaking roles as laundress, and much more appealing -"a confectioner's shop woman, and keeper of a sweet shop".

My mother's second cousin Elsie Oldham in the 1920's opened her own home-based business  as a hairdresser, restyling herself as "Elise" - presumably the French name had more appeal!  This charming advertising blotter was among the family papers. 

In my husband's Donaldson family in South  Shields on the River Tyne, the  linking factor in their jobs was the sea,  with family occupations ranging from merchant, master mariner, seaman, caulker, roper, ship's carpenter and river policeman.

Have you ever puzzled over the occupation of a Scottish ancestor, as listed in the census?  Then take a look at the listing of over 1500 occupations with their definitions and variants on the ScotlandsPeople website HERE. 

JEWELLERY - have you inherited jewellery from your mother or grandmother?  

This bracelet  and brooch  were brought back from Malta  to my great grandmother Maria Danson, nee Rawcliffe (1859-1919)  by her son Frank who was hospitalized there during the First World War. 
This brooch of the Women's Institute gives an insight into Maria's life. The WI was set up in the UK in 1915  to revitalize rural communities and to encourage women to become more involved in producing food during the First World War. The organisation is still active today, famed for its jams, baking and crafts, but with  a much wider remit now than food production. I am a member of m local  group, as was my mother before me.


Onto K for Kirk Session Records

Copyright © 2015 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved

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