Monday, June 27, 2011

He said what? My favorite occupation listing in the U.S. Census of 1880

Click on above image to view.
Census listings and humor…

If you look at census records, like I do, every day, off and on, you get accustomed to seeing certain occupations listed over and over.  ”Farmer” and “laborer” are commonly listed, and women are often “dressmakers”   or “keeping house.” There are a few teachers and preachers, but there aren’t  many truly unusual occupations. When I come across them I enjoy them so much, especially if I have the feeling that I am getting to know someone from the past. The one I like the best is the one given by Harrison White in Visalia, Tulare County, California in 1880. Harrison had once been the census-taker for his region, so he probably came up with the idea to give a less than usual response. While his wife Hattie, a distant relative of mine, says that she is “keeping house," he says he is “doing nothing.” I just love it!  What  occupations listed in the census have you noticed as unusual and entertaining to read about?

Census image from U.S. 1880  census for Harrison White in Visalia, California, scan from

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In researching my husbands, line, one of his great grandpa's was a "Knitter" in a Silk pantyhose factory.