Wednesday, 17 April 2013

A-Z 2013 'O' is for Occupation

Looking through the census returns it's possible to see the various occupations my ancestors had - and quite varied they were too! Some were involved in the military and the Royal Navy, but many were quite nondescript jobs.

For instance, there's the ambiguous title of 'Ag. Lab.' (agricultural labourer - a universal term encompassing anything from ploughman to farm-hand and countless other jobs in between!). Here's a picture of one of my 2xGreat Grandfathers, Charles Beattie - shown in the census returns as a 'shepherd'

(I don't know when the picture was taken but he died in 1873.)

I assume he may have carried on a family tradition with livestock, since just a few generations earlier his family were one of those involved in sheep-stealing and cattle-rustling known as the Border Reivers (I'll get to them in 'R'!)

Strangely enough, one of his sons and the generations after that became stonemasons by trade. Three generations later my maternal Grandfather Joseph Beattie, along with is brother David, had moved south of the Scottish Border to Carlisle where they set up in business as stonemasons.

Here's Grandad at work in a cemetary, hammer and chisel in hand.

Incidently, his brother David is one of my heroes, as he wrote a number of books but he was also a keen amateur genealogist and local historian - I have him to thank for much of my family tree on that side of the family!

My father's side of the family were mainly miners - and until I started digging back I had no idea we had Irish roots! They moved to Scotland around 1850 and were involved in the coal mines around the Glasgow area. They married into Scottish mining families, so I have 'face-workers', hewers and 'slack sorters' amongst other trades. Some of the women branched into mill work, so they were involved in weaving as 'pickers' and  'piecers'.

The most exotic trade I've found was 'tea dealer'! Another of my 2xGreat Grandfathers, David Johnstone, gave this as his trade in the census - basically, I think he was a travelling salesman! ;-p


  1. Thanks for the comment, Sue.
    I have a great Uncle, Dad's side in Glasgow.
    He moved there from Sligo, Ireland.
    I think knowing your family is so important..Mom's was from Sheffield, Eng.

  2. Thanks for commenting on my blog Sue! I am finding it VERY INTERESTING the topics people are blogging about! My sister is the researcher and keeper of the family history and photographs. I will ave to ask her about occupations...hmmm!

  3. I find family history to be really interesting. How neat you have the stories and the pictures.


  4. Genealogy and family history is intriguing, but I never though about all the different occupations there might be. I'll have to go back and take a look. :)

    Sherrey at Healing by Writing

  5. Amazing. So much out there to find out about ancestors.

  6. This just keeps getting more interesting and detailed. Good way to be proud of your heritage.

    This is cool stuff Sue!

    Chuck at Apocalypse Now

  7. I just love how knowing about my heritage and ancestors gives me a better sense of who I am.

  8. You are so fortunate to have so much history and photos to put together! I love hearing about your family.

  9. Hi Sue .. I'm going to love going through your blog thoroughly once the A- Z is over and there's a little more time ..

    Fascinating stuff .. cheers Hilary