Read 12 Sons Named George text version

Naming Conventions of our Ancestors

Presented by Nancy Waters Lauer

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Nancy Lee Waters Lauer


Association of Professional Genealogists Genealogical Speakers Guild Maryland Historical Society


The Huhn, Pestorf, and Steck Families The Lauer, Borgmeier, and Bauer Families Discovering Simon Lauer, Maryland Genealogical Bulletin Christiana Lauer, Midwife in 19th Century Baltimore Get a Leg Up and Guardian Angel, Family Tree Magazine

Future Publications

Katie Lauer's Dolls The Oler and Sprinkle Families of Maryland The Waters and Edwards Families of Georgia



So you have found the occupation of your ancestor, now what? Ancestral occupations can give clues to who our ancestors were, how they lived, where they lived, and most importantly, give them individual identity and personality. The sources that identify occupations are numerous. Church records, city directories, census records, wills, and land records are just a few that may list professions.



Examples Resources Translations Tables of Dutch, English, French, German, Latin Occupations List of German Occupations Websites Bibliography



Johann Georg Sommer, my husband's sixth great-grandfather, was a miller in 18th century Germany. His death entry in the church records indicates he worked at Rohrmühle Sugar Mill in Germany. A search on the Internet soon turned up the web page of Dieter Joos. Herr Joos' paper on German Villages added a colorful anecdote to Georg's life and occupation

There was one profession, which has to be considered separately: the millers. Generally, they were wealthy, often very rich, but also they had a very bad moral image. It was said that they were not always honest (e.g., they would mix flour with sand or gypsum) and, they were considered to be highly immoral. The last statement is based on the fact that the mills were naturally located outside the village (towns: outside of the fortification walls). It was at the miller's location that events took place which the village would not tolerate within its own walls (prostitution, gambling, and excessive drinking/partying).

Sounds like George and his contemporaries enjoyed life. There were several millers in the Lauer ancestry -- we're wondering how many generations a bloodline flows.



Charles Steck was a blacksmith and wheelwright in 19th century Baltimore, Maryland, as listed in the 1880 Census and Woods Baltimore Directory for 1856-1857. He was my great, great-uncle and brother to my great, great-grandfather, Johann Ludwig Steck. Both my great, great-grandfather and his son (my greatgrandfather) worked for Charles Steck, brother and uncle, respectively. Digging deeper into the microfilm rolls lead me to the Manufactures Census of 1880. I soon learned that my great, great-uncle had $12,000 invested in his business. His highest number of employees for 1880 was 11, and 9 were over the age of 16. Employees worked 10 hours and earned from $ .75 to $1.50 per hour. His establishment operated all year round, and he claimed $4,000 in materials and $12,000 in products. Not only have I learned more about my great, great-uncle, I now know that my great- grandfather and his father worked 10-hour days with average earnings of $15.00 per day. You can image my disappointment when I went to the site of the blacksmith business and found a fast-food establishment instead.



Adam Borgmeier, my husband's great, great grandfather, was a drayman in 19th century Baltimore, Maryland. Again census records and city directories were the primary sources for this information. Drays were horse-drawn vehicles used to haul all types of commodities. It was a sturdy, low cart without permanent sides harnessed to an equally strong horse. The cart was of heavy construction equipped with two metal-shod parallel prongs at the back used to load barrels, bales, and boxes. During the late 1800's, drays could be found congregating around the bustling Port of Baltimore, wharves, and warehouses delivering cargoes bound for foreign ports or unloading for local vendors. The streets of Baltimore were crowded with these bulky vehicles often to the point of causing traffic problems for the elegant carriages and other modes of transport. Not much different than our present-day trucks! While perusing historical newspaper articles, I happened across one from the morning edition of the Baltimore Sun. This article brings alive the period of time when drays filled the bustling streets of Baltimore. For those interested in mechanics and balance, the commentary describes the design, manufacture, and disposal of drays. Mr. Duffy goes on to elegantly describe Adam and his contemporaries: The draymen, were men of strength, whose lives inured them to all weathers and made health ooze from their cheeks, giving out the glow of the seaman, whose craft brought them patronage. Adam is suddenly real and no longer simply another name in a long line of "begets."



Christiana Würz Lauer, my husband's great, great-grandmother, was a midwife. As birth certificates were identified and located for family members and neighbors, Christiana's name appeared time and again as the midwife. The Baltimore City Directories list her as a midwife and nurse. In addition to being a wife, and mother to twelve of her own children, she birthed a new generation of Baltimoreans.



Census Records Church Records City Directories Family Occupations Immigration Records Local Histories Locality Newspapers Public / Vital Records Wills, Land Records


Resources ­ Census Records

Population Schedules (1840 ­ 1930) Mortality Schedules (1850 ­ 1885) Slave Schedules (1850 ­ 1860) Agricultural Schedules (1850 ­ 1885) Industry or Manufacturing Schedules (1810, 1820, 1850 ­ 1885) Veterans' and Widows' Schedules (1890) Social Statistics (1850 ­ 1870) Defective and Delinquent Classes Schedules (1880) Enumeration District (ED) maps (1880 to present)


Resources ­ Census Records

1840 asked number of individuals involved in mining, agriculture, commerce, manufacturing and trade, navigation of the ocean, navigation of canals, lakes and rivers, learned professions and engineers 1850 U.S. Census contained column for occupation 1890 Veterans' and Widows' Schedules list military occupations 1920 Census asked trade, profession, or particular kind of work done; industry, business, or establishment in which at work; whether employer, salary or wage worker, or working on own account.


Resources ­ Census Records


Resources ­ Census Records


Resources ­ Church Records


List occupations of father List names of sponsors

Confirmations Marriage Death

List occupation of deceased


Resources ­ Church Records



Resources ­ City Directories

Individual names include occupations Address identifies where business is located Employers may have advertisements Baltimore City Directories first appeared in 1796

Name, address, occupation

Business Listings were included starting in 1856 Enoch Pratt Library City Directory Lookups

[email protected]


Resources ­ City Directories


Resources ­ Baltimore Directories at the Maryland State Archives

Baltimore City Directories Originals: Baltimore City Directory, 1898-1899, 1903-1915, 1917-1919, 1921-1930, 1936-1937, 1940, 1942, 1956. By R. L. Polk & Co., Baltimore, MD, 1898-1899, 1903-1915, 1917-1919, 1921-1930, 1936-1937, 1940, 1942, 1956. Location: 2-3-14-1 through 2-3-14-19 Eney Collection, MSA SC 1945 - Baltimore City Directory, 1814-1815, C and J sections of volume only. Harrison Sayre Collection of Atlases, MSA SC 2144 - Baltimore City Directory, 1917 and 1940. 1st Fidelity Bank Collection of the Savings Bank of Baltimore, MSA SC 4313 - Directories for 1957-1959, 1961, 1963-1965 (Includes "Baltimore Suburban," Towson, Glen Burnie, and Linthicum. Microfilm: Washington County Free Library Collection, MSA SC 2779 - Boyd's Business Directory of ... Maryland ... with an alphabetical listing of all Business Firms in the Cities of Baltimore, Annapolis, Cumberland, Frederick, and Hagerstown 1875. Baltimore City Directories Collection, MSA SC 2898 - Baltimore City Directory, 1752, 1796-1860, 18631930. Collection also contains xerox copies of directories 1859, 1864, 1871, and 1891 ("colored persons" sections only). Enoch Pratt Library City Directory Collection, MSA SC 3807 - Polk's Baltimore City Directory, 1936-1937. City Directory Collection, MSA SC 4270 - Polk's Baltimore City Directory, 1930 Electronic: Baltimore City Directories on Archives of Maryland Online Baltimore City Directories Collection, MSA SC 2898 - Baltimore City Directory, 1871 and 1881 ("colored persons" sections only). These city directories are particularly useful for helping locate Baltimore City African Americans in the 1870 and 1880 Census since the Directory was compiled at the same time as the Census was taken, but published the next year.


Family Occupations

Family history of occupations Family business passed on generation to generation Related occupations

One feeds the other

Family name taken from ancestral occupation Family stories Ancestral clothing


Immigration ­ Ship Manifest


Resources ­ Localities

Where did your ancestor live and how did that impact their choice and opportunity for employment?

Agricultural area Industrial area Waterways Desert Forests Small village Large town


Resources ­ Local Histories

Published anniversary documents

Ancestors biography Lists of businesses and occupations

Who's Who Books


Resources ­ Local Histories



Resources ­ Newspapers

Birth announcements Death announcements Obituaries Miscellaneous articles Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore

[email protected]

Baltimore Sun Papers


Resources ­ Newspapers

Found in the a vertical file in the Maryland Room of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland


Resources ­ Public / Vital Records

Birth Certificates

Occupations of parents Names of midwife or doctor

Marriage Certificates

Occupations of bride and groom

Divorce Certificates Death Certificates

Occupation of Deceased

Social Security Applications Military Records, draft cards, and pension records

The Maryland State Archives maintains birth records, adoption records, marriage records, divorce records, and death records, and some indices to these records. It is important to note that access to some of these records is restricted by law to protect the rights of the individuals named in the documents.


Resources ­ Wills, Land Records

Wills Estate Inventories Land records


Translation ­ What is this occupation?

Some occupations have changed little over the centuries, others have disappeared entirely. Much of our generation is employed at jobs which our parents never imagined. Entire industries can disappear in the blink of an eye Floor Walker Drayman Well Master ­ page 38 Lamp Lighter Ice Companies



Joos, Dieter, A Brief Description of a Typical Southern German Village in the Past Centuries, Ueberlingen, Germany, August, 1999. Charles Steck household, 1880 U.S. Census, Baltimore, Maryland; page: 252A; dwelling 107, family 126, Enumeration District: 57; National Archives micropublication T9_499. Woods Baltimore Directory for 1856-1857, containing a business directory, and engraved map of the city. Baltimore: Printed and published by John Woods, 1957, page 320. Charles Steck, Blacksmith and Wheelwright, 1880 U.S. Manufactures Census, Baltimore, Maryland, Post Office: 325 N. Stricker Street, micropublication M5-5176, Maryland Hall of Records, Annapolis, Maryland. The Baltimore Sun, Morning Edition, The Passing of the Old Time Dray From Baltimore, by Edward Paul Duffy, October 24, 1915. Baltimore City Directories, Baltimore, Maryland: R. L. Polk and Company, Microfilm M 2151 - M 2165, M 2322 - M 2335, Mf 2856, Maryland Hall of Records, Annapolis, Maryland.



12 Sons Named George

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