What I Did On My Bonus Day Off
Pull Up Your Goddamn Pants: Androgyny Edition

Ancestors, Hon!

My Facebook friends know that I've been doing some family research on Ancestry.com. I was particularly interested in seeing what I could find out about my mom's father's family.

Well, I hit the jackpot!

I was able to trace my grandfather's family back to his grandfather -- my great great grandfather. He was born about 1803, my great grandfather was born about 1824, and my grandfather was born about 1869. We're all Maryland born too, which I find pretty amazing given the time span.

Here's a picture that I have of my grandfather as a baby, with his mother.


It was really cool to see images of the various census records -- a real treasure trove of information! Take a look at this snippet from the 1880 census:


So this snippet lists my grandfather's family. My great grandmother was a widow with 10 kids! My grandfather was Jarrett, the eighth of the 10. Six of the children were working; I guess they had to! The oldest, William, was a locomotive engineer. This makes perfect sense, because my grandfather was a stationmaster for the B&O Railroad. The second oldest son was a Teamster.

But look a little more, and you'll see that four of the siblings worked in a cotton mill, including 13-year old Celia and 15-year old Jacob! (I remember my Mom talking about her Uncle Jake and how he used to take her on motorcycle rides around Loch Raven reservoir.)

What you don't see on this snippet is that the family lived in the Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore. So I did a little Googling and found out that yes, there were three cotton mills in Hamden; they were founded in 1839 by David Carroll and Horatio Gambrill. I come by my Bawlmerese honestly, Hon!

This is definitely a working class family -- the kids supporting their mom, with even the young teenagers working in a mill! With all the other kids working, it makes me wonder what was up with Lizzie -- at 18, she was "at home." Maybe she was helping care for the little kids, or maybe she was helping her mother in "keeping house."

What a story, right?

I think I may have to pull the trigger on the two-week free trial and see what else I can dig up!