Back at the end of March, J. Paul Hawthorne started a pedigree chart craze by sharing an Excel-created chart of birthplaces of his ancestors. That was actually a follow up to an earlier craze creating cause-of-death pedigree charts.
I decided to try another variation of this idea, looking at family occupations. Comparing my family with my husband’s, it isn’t surprising at all to see that the occupations are totally different because the places where they lived had different climates, businesses and ethnic groups.
I chose to keep the color coding the same as on the birthplace charts, as they help explain some of the jobs that our ancestors did.
Sabo Occupation Pedigree Chart
Yellow = New Jersey
Green = Slovakia
Turquoise = Maine
Light blue = Canada
Purple = Denmark
Stufflebean Occupation Pedigree Chart
Gray = California
Red = Oklahoma
Purple = Missouri
Orange = Texas
Light green = Tennessee
Dark green = Kentucky
Yellow = Arkansas
Light blue = Virginia
Dark blue = Ohio
Analyzing the occupations, it is easy to understand some of the differences.
1. Both my husband and I were the first generation to graduate from college and we also both went on to earn master’s degrees.
2. In my family, all the ancestors in dark green boxes were from Slovakia and all were poor tenant farmers trying to eke out a living and support a family on a sliver of poor land. That brought on the mass exodus from small villages to the U.S. They were all in search of a better life.
3. My boat builder, tug captain and master mariners lived on coastal Maine and New Brunswick, Canada. They were drawn to life on the water.
4. In the fifth generation, I had only one farmer left after many earlier generations.
5. I think many “at home mothers” were a bit unusual for the time periods in which they lived because it was well before the post-World War II era when middle class moms often did not work outside the home.
6. Perhaps not surprising because they lived in more rural areas, there were still a number of farmers in the Stufflebean family in the 5th and even the 4th generations.
7. Don’t be fooled by the higher number of “at home mothers” in this chart. The fact is that those women were very hard working farm wives who put in very long days. They were not the June Cleaver at home moms of the 1950s.
8. Several Stufflebean ancestors worked for themselves – the store owner and the house painter.
9. Even though the grow of factories and mills exploded in the late 1800s, few of our ancestors worked in them and for the handful that did, they didn’t work in them for long.
10. The U.S. is often called the land of opportunity with parents all hoping for an improved standard of living for their children. It’s apparent from our occupation charts that our families changed with the times and pretty much reflected a better standard of life with each new generation.