Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Your Ancestor’s Occupations

Saturday night has made its weekly appearance, so that means it is time for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun with Randy Seaver on Genea-Musings.

This week’s challenge will take some data gathering:

1)  What were the occupations of your ancestors?

2)  Please go back several generations (say parents or grandparents or great-grandparents) and list the occupations that they had in the records you’ve found for them.  You could do this, say, by ancestor table number.

I’ve listed my ancestors by ancestor table number, but have omitted females who had no occupation (not even housewife) listed.

2. George Michael Sabo (1926-1985), my father, had these occupations, from my personal knowledge since he wasn’t yet working in 1940:

  • Shoe Salesman – Stern Brothers Department Store
  • Purchasing agent for Curtiss-Wright

3. Doris Priscilla Adams (1923-2008), my mother, had these occupations, again from personal knowledge:

  • Secretary – ABC Industries, which made copper rollers for fabric printing
  • Office Manager -ABC Industries

4. George Kucharik (aka Sabo) (1893-1936), my grandfather:

  • 1920 – factory worker
  • 1930 – owner, butcher shop

6. Vernon Tarbox Adams (1899-1968), my grandfather:

  • 1920 – plantman – telegraphy
  • 1930 – chief operator – Western Union
  • 1940 – district supervisor – Western Union

8. Stephen Kucharik (aka Sabo) (1855-1933), my great grandfather:

  • 1900 – labor
  • 1910 – laborer in a bleachery
  • 1920 – helper, bleachery
  • 1930 – not found

10. Michael Scerbak (1868-1932), my great grandfather:

  • not found in records, but factory worker 1890s
  • carpenter
  • farmer

12. Charles Edwin Adams (1877-1922), my great grandfather:

  • 1900 – Shoe cutter
  • 1910 – shoe cutter
  • 1920 – manager in hotel shop

13. Annie Maude Stewart (1874-1940), my great grandmother:

  • 1900 – none
  • 1910 – none
  • 1920 – merchant, hotel shop
  • 1930 – employer, dry goods store
  • 1940 – none

14. Hartwell Thomas Coleman (1868-1938), my great grandfather

  • 1900 – none
  • 1910 – master mariner, tugboat
  • 1920 – tugboat captain
  • 1930 – store keeper

My Slovak ancestors do not appear in any records in the villages where they lived that include occupations, but all were peasant farmers:

16. John Kucharik (1820-1893)

18. Michael Kacsenyak (1834-after 1895)

20. John Scerbak (1836-1916)

22. John Murcko (1831-1917)

24. Calvin Segee Adams (1843-1921), my 2X great grandfather:

  • 1870 – boat buildings
  • 1880 – boat builder
  • 1900 – boat builder
  • 1910 – boat carpenter
  • 1920 – none

26. Charles Augustus Stewart (1822-1894), my 2X great grandfather:

  • 1850 – farmer
  • 1860 – farmer
  • 1870 – farmer
  • 1880 – farmer

28. William Coleman (1834-1905), my 2X great grandfather:

  • 1860 – farm laborer
  • 1870 – steamboat captain
  • 1880 – master of tugboat
  • 1900 – captain

30. Frits Wille Oscar Emil Jensen (1845-1920), my 2X great grandfather:

  • 1880 – policeman at prison near Copenhagen
  • 1900 – detective
  • 1910 – none

That’s it through my 2X great grandparents. Although the women were listed as having no occupation at all, they helped in the fields in Slovakia in addition to running the home and those ancestresses in America certainly had plenty to do in the house, too!

Thanks, Randy, for this week’s challenge.

 

 

 

Family Sketch of Moses Morris, Who Died c1803, Amelia County, Virginia

A couple of days ago, I shared the will of Moses Morris. Here it is again, with further details about his children and grandchildren:

Will of Moses Morris
Amelia County, Virginia WB 6:299-300
Source: FamilySearch

In the name of God I Moses Morris of Amelia County being in good health and sound mind and memory as at other times and knowing the frailty of this mortal life and that it is appointed for all mankind once to die, Therefore I make this my last will and testament giving and bequeathing in the manner and form as followeth:

Item. I give to my son Zachariah Morris one bed and furniture which he has in possession and one twelfth part of my estate to him and his heirs forever.
Item. I – to my son Moses Morris one bed and furniture which he has in possession and one twelfth part of my estate during his life and at his death I give it to his children to them and their heirs forever.
Item. I leave to my son Isaac Morris one feather bed and furniture and one twelfth part of my estate to him and the heirs of his body but if he should die without heirs full heir of his body his legacy to return to the surviving legatees.
Item I give to my son (Walter?) Morris six shillings to be paid to him by my executors.
Item. I leave to my son William Morris one feather bed furniture and one twelfth part of my estate to him and the heirs of his body, but if he should die without lawful heir of his body his legacy to return to the surviving legatees.
Item. I give to my three grand children Rhoda Franklin Molly Claybrook and Sally Claybrook one twelfth part of my estate to be equally divided between them but if either of the children should die without an heir their parts to return to their surviving sisters.
Item. I give to my three grand children William Wingo, Sally Wingoe and Molly Wingoe one twelfth part of my estate to be equally divided between them, but if either of three children should die without heirs their parts to return to the surviving brother or sister.
Item. I give to my six Grandchildren Asenath Morris, Dubucy Morris, Nancy Morris, Jenny Morris, Luellen Morriss and Catril Morris one bed and furniture which their mother Betsy Morriss has in possession and one twelfth part of my estate for their support to be equally divided between them, but if either of the six children should die without an heir their parts to return to the surviving sisters and brothers.
Item. I leave to my grand daughter Susannah Burton one trunk, one feather bed and furniture which her father Samuel Burton has in possession and one twelfth part of my estate, all which I leave in the care and hands of my executors till she shall become of age or married, but if she should die without lawful heir of her body the legacy to return to the surviving legatees
Item. I give to my daughter Mary H. Whitworth one feather bed and furniture which she has in possession and one twelfth part of my estate to her and her heirs of her body forever.
Item. I give to my daughter Judith Mays one bed and furniture which she has in possession and one twelfth part of my estate to her and the heirs of her body forever.
Item, I give to my daughter Jenny Hendrick one bed and furniture which she has in possession and one twelfth part of my estate to her and her heirs of her body forever.
Item. I give to my daughter Oney Burton one bed and furniture which she has in possession and one twelfth part of my estate to her and the heirs of her body forever.

And lastly I constitute and appoint my Brother Zachariah Morriss and Claibourne G. Whitworth executors of this my last will and testament. In witness whereof I have set my hand and fix to my seal this twelfth day of June, One thousand eight hundred and two.

Witnesses: Allen Jeters, Thomas Booth, Rudophil Jeter, Isaac Morris

There is a lot to be learned about Moses Morris from his will. First, I am continuing with my (for now) belief that Catherine Waters, daughter of James Waters who died in 1753, was the wife of Moses Morris. There is no evidence so far found to suggest that she wasn’t while, at the same time, there are clues she was.

First, there weren’t many Morrises born c1720s who Catherine might have married. She is called Catherine Morris in her father’s 1753 will, so she was alive and married at that time.

This Moses Morris was born in the 1720s and of the right age to be the husband of Catherine, whose birth was likely in the later 1720s. In addition, Moses appears to be the eldest son of Isaac Morris, who left a will probated in Amelia County on 18 May 1750. The children seem to be listed in birth order and his brothers might have been too young to marry Catherine.

Second, Moses Morris had a grandchild named Rhoda Franklin and, as marriage records show, he also had a daughter named Rhoda. Remember, Rhoda isn’t the most popular of girls’ names in this era and the ones I’ve found have all been related.

Here is my tentative construction of the family of Moses Morris and his presumed wife, Catherine Waters. Birth order is uncertain, but I am assuming his sons were named in birth order and that Moses’s children married in the 18-24 year old range:

1. Zachariah, born c1755; died after 1804, when he was sued by siblings over his handling of his father’s estate.
2. Mary H., born c1758; married Claiborne Gouge Whitworth. He was born c1755 and died before June 1805. He was co-executor of Moses’s will along with Mary’s brother, Zachariah. A lawsuit later brought by Moses’s heirs identified Claiborne as the husband of Mary Morris.
2. Moses, born 1761
3. Isaac, born c1763; died before 1815; based on a Chancery Court lawsuit by heirs of his siblings, he had no heirs.
4. Walter, born c1765; married Elizabeth Morris, 16 November 1788, Amelia County, Virginia
5. William, born c1767
6. Jenny, born c1768; married Barnard Hendrick, 21 December 1786, Amelia County, Virginia
7. Oney, born c1770; married William Burton, 16 November 1788, Amelia County, Virginia
8. Judith, born c1771; married Garner/Gardiner Mays, 5 February 1789, Amelia County, Virginia
9. Son, born c1773; died before 12 June 1802; married Betsey, who survived him and is mentioned in his father’s will, c1790. (Could this be John Morris, who married Elizabeth Hudson, 5 July 1791, Amelia County, VA?) Children were Asenath, Dubucy, Nancy, Jenny, Lewellyn and (Catril?) Morris, named in Moses’s will.
10. Rhoda, born c1776, died before the 1804 estate distribution when Jesse Franklin signed for the share, probably Amelia County, Virginia; married (1) Mr. Claybrook (2) Jesse Franklin, 1 May 1802, Amelia County, Virginia. Children were Molly Claybrook, Sally Claybrook and Rhoda Franklin, named in Moses’s will.
11. Daughter, born c1778; died before 12 June 1802, probably Amelia County, Virginia; married (1) Mr. Wingo. Her children included William, Sally and (V.M.?) Mr. Wingo apparently died before 1804, as William Burton was their next friend in court.
12. Susan, born c1782; predeceased her father; married Samuel Burton, cDecember 1800, Amelia County, Virginia. Her daughter, Susannah Burton is in Moses’s will.

Little seems to be online, genealogically speaking, about this family, so I will devote one more post to identifying them.

 

 

Ancestry.com Answers: My Problems with the Search Engine

A few weeks ago, I wrote three posts detailing my frustrations with Ancestry.com and its search engine: My Problems with Ancestry.com Search Engines, Part 1 followed by Part 2 and Part 3.

Imagine my surprise yesterday when I noticed that I had one more comment to each of those three posts and they were from Crista Cowan! 🙂 Crista is easily the most public face of Ancestry.com and I’ve heard her excellent talks at genealogy conferences.

She lamented that I hadn’t posted the URLs from my search – and I tried several variations of searching for results related to my examples, so backtracking to try to duplicate those URLs wouldn’t be very productive at this point.

NOTE: I’d like to reiterate here, though, that I approached the Ancestry team at RootsTech 2019 and spent 15-20 minutes with a young man on their tech team. I gave him the same examples of my no results issues as those listed in my three blog posts. That young man had the SAME issues with no results when searching that I had experienced! Apparently, the tech guy doesn’t know any of Crista’s search tips.

However, Crista did provide tips for better success, two of which kind of surprised me. Here are Crista’s suggestions:

  1. It appears that (I – me) have typed Bourbon, Kentucky into the LIVED IN field instead of selecting Bourbon County, Kentucky, USA from the type-ahead list. When you enter your own location instead of selecting from the list, the search engine treats it as a keyword and because you don’t have it marked exact it is somewhat downweighted in the search results (see #2). [Yes, I did type into the LIVED IN field and, often I am so quick that I don’t bother to click and accept the name in the type-ahead list. It never dawned on me that this would make any difference as long as I spelled the place name correctly! Live and learn!]
  2. because you don’t have it marked exact it is somewhat downweighted in the search results [I have never marked anything EXACT because I thought it would limit results, omitting spelling errors, etc.]

Trying out the EXACT box did bring up variations in the Spears name, which often is found as Spear, Speer, Speers and even as Spire.

3. Next came the issues with the slave schedules. Crista’s reply: As for the the 1860 Slave Schedule, the problem you are experiencing there is due to the fact that the record is for the enslaved individual not for the slave owner. Ancestry created a record for the enslaved person listing their gender and age but, of course, there is no name. Technically, the name field should probably be removed from the search options. In order to bring up a list of enslaved individuals owned by a particular individual, you need to enter their name in the KEYWORD field, since they are not considered the primary person on the record. [I have to say I honestly think the way Ancestry indexed this collection is just weird. Why would anyone decide to index a census schedule by people who are not named??? However, knowing to add the owner’s name to the KEYWORD field is a critical bit of knowledge needed to find people compared to browsing each page looking for them.]

4. Another of Crista’s suggestions: I use wildcards OFTEN in my searching because so many of the older records (and looking at the image this one is no exception) are such poor handwriting with over marks and fading that is is easy to see how they could be misinterpreted when the transcribers were indexing the records. [I, too, often use wildcards. Sometimes, it is the only way a record will pop up.]

5. Lastly, since I know I am not the only one who has had issues with search engine results, Crista’s last suggestion applies to all of us with any future problems: If you could provide a URL of your search results page for any results where you are getting something you don’t expect, that would be really helpful. If we can see exactly what you are entering, how, and where, we can then see if we can make the entry form more intuitive or see if we can figure out where there might be a disconnect between your query and your search results.

I’d like to give a shout out to Crista Cowan for taking the time to post three lengthy replied with helpful suggestions to bring more success with Ancestry searches. After hearing from the young man at RootsTech that he personally reads all of the comments on Ancestry’s Facebook page, my own suggestion would be to follow Crista’s tip to save the URL of your search results page and then comment on the Ancestry page. You might then receive a reply about your own issues.

Thank you again Crista Cowan.