Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day: What My Ancestors Did

I think a lot of beginning genealogists start their hunt with a hope of finding out they were related to Charlemagne or Cleopatra or some wealthy king who left money and a title that they are now entitled too.  I had always heard growing up that somewhere in Italy, I had an ancestor who was a cavalier.  While being related to a knight would be cool, I have much more in common with the ancestors I have found in relation to their occupation, than I would with a night in shining armor.

My English and German ancestors were farmers, laborers, and gardeners.  They worked each day, often for people wealthier than they were, in the fields or stables, taking care of plants and animals.  Each successive generation kept the same position until they moved to America.  In America, I had ancestors work on the railroad, as coopers, as construction workers, as homemakers, work on the Erie Canal, own and run bars and corner stores and hold office jobs for companies such as Sacony Mobil and New York Telephone.

I have found I like these working class ancestors better than I would have liked rich merchants or royalty.  It is much easier to see and understand my ancestors as real people, people who worked, provided for their family, live like I do now, rather than as people who sat around having servants and watching their piles of gold grow.  Happy Labor Day to the working class of yesterday, today and tomorrow!  Thank you for being the drive that makes the world run!

What did your ancestors do?  Do you wish to find royalty on your family tree?  Do you find your working-class relatives as fascinating as I do?  To find out what other geneabloggers ancestors did, check out this post.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post. I just wanted to say a few things. Good for you, A modern gal doesn't need knight in shining armour. . Now I think even if they were lords or kights with castles some of them got pretty poor when they no longer had serfs and free labor, outside of the clothing and feeding them. I think lots of castles had to be sold or put aside for that reason. I saw a show on tv where the guy had to bring in exotic animals on his castle grounds to make money. Unless they were good business men and had means to gp that route in some other way.
    I still haven't figured out how my ancestors were able to one up each other each generation.
    These were just things I had been thinking for my own blog as I wrote.

    My cousin hoped I find us a rich relative. no luck though the duke in my ancestors past was in a poor area of Lueneburger Heide and they had such a struggle too. I suspect that's why they turned to the church to become missionaries etc.
    thanks for the nice inspiring thought. Just wondering where your german ancestors lived???


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