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Business and Employment Records

  1. Researching using Business and Employment Records
  2. • Businesses have employed or served our ancestors since the first mill was built to grind grain or saw wood. • Many researchers overlook records created by business. These can include Local licenses permitting a business to operate, the local store, hotel, pub, funeral home, newspapers, and even the local church. • Business records can be used in three significant ways during research. • 1. important information in the absence of traditional records • 2. Provide clues that may lead to other clues…etx • 3. Ancestor personal history
  3. Business and employment records include our ancestors in at least 3 situations. •1. Owner of the Business •2. Employee of the a Business •3. Customer of a business
  4. Colonial Records • Apprentice Records - To indenture is to bind one person to another for a given period of time. In colonial days most apprentices were boys in their teens, often younger than fourteen. The agreement was signed by the master as well as the parents or guardian of the boy. The trades were often family businesses and many fathers formally took their sons as apprentices. Apprentices were usually bound until they were twenty-one so the length of the indenture specified in the document gives an indication of a boys age. • Example – Benjamin Franklin was indentured as a printer to his brother James.
  5. • Indenture – There are several indenture records out there, the most common type is paying back passage to America. There are also children were bound out to help earn money for a family, or daughters could learn how to be a “house wife”….etc From Name: Mary Stamper Date: 7 Oct 1771 Residence: Northern Liberties Occupation: To be taught housewifery, to sew plain work, read in the Bible, write a legible hand and cypher. Whom Indentured: Elias Lewis Freichel and his assigns Term: 7 yrs., 21 d.
  6. More Town Records 1. Elected town officials 2. Appointed town officials 3. All records written in Town Book by the Town Clerk during Annual Town Meetings 4. Appointed Town Officials Town Assessor Town Collector of Taxes Constable Town Treasurer Surveyor of Highways School Committee Overseer of the Poor
  7. A bill of indenture for the apprenticeship of Jacob Averill, witnessed, signed, and sealed by several hands, “overseers of the poor” in the town of Preston, Connecticut. Part of the contract deems Jacob be taught “to read and to write”
  8. • Tax Lists • Taxpayer name and their real estate and livestock owned. • List of abatements - Widow with the year husband died, poverty, debility/disability, and service in War • School Records • Finding, hiring, and paying of school teachers • Minutes of school committee meetings • Upkeep of the school house • Church Records Example - Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 is on
  9. Directories • The value of a Directory aids you on locating a person in place and time. • As cities grew in the nineteenth century, directories became more detailed. • 1. City Directories
  10. The Alphabetical address 1. Households 2. Businesses Street Directory (Criss-cross directory) 1. Trace everyone who lives on a certain block or neighborhood Directory of Churches Directory of Cemeteries List of City Officials Classified list of businesses
  11. WHERE DO YOU FIND THEM? • Municipal libraries in the city of interest • County public libraries in the city of interest • State libraries/State historical societies/State archives • Family History Library/ Family History Center • • Library of Congress (Washington, D.C.)
  12. WHO WAS LISTED? • Homeowners and heads of household • Mid 1800’s all males living and working in the city • By 1870, most single adult females listed, if they were employed • By late 1800’s, most directories listed the wife’s name following the husband’s name, in parenthesis • The address of work and residence • Between Census years • When did they arrive? • Household members
  13. How to use them • How your ancestors earned a living • Sorting Families of the same surname by address, work, occupation/wife’s name • What is around the home, church, school…etc • Approximating life events – death, marriage, leaving home • Unknown relatives in the same area and same surname • Determine approximate year of death by “widow/widower” status
  14. Directories • The value of a Directory aids you on locating a person in place and time. • As cities grew in the nineteenth century, directories became more detailed. • 1. City Directories • 2. Professional & Organizational Directories • 3. Directory of Deceased American Physicians, 1804-1929 • 4. Telephone Directories • Just to name a few
  15. Newspaper• The newspapers of a community chronicle the successes, failures, and everyday lives of the people who live there. To the family historian, newspapers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries can be especially helpful because of their personal news and social items. • Detailed obituaries and marriage notices that provide a great deal of family information • Memorials published an individual's death. These generally provide the individual's death date and the names of the people placing the notice - usually family members. • Social items, such as notices of visitors from out of town; visits of local people to other places; birthday parties and their attendees; illnesses; community events, contests, and holiday celebrations • Legal articles, including probate notices, divorce cases, dissolutions of business partnerships, delinquent tax lists, and advertisements of sheriffs' sales. • News stories in which ancestors played a role, such as automobile or buggy accidents; explosions, fires, tornadoes or other disasters; crimes; proceedings of meetings of local governing bodies; listings of candidates for upcoming elections; etc. • Advertisements
  16. Occupations • Farmers – By using the census records and agriculture schedule you can get a good idea on your family's wealth and the way they lived. If they raised cattle, they had to bring to market? Where would you find records? • Lawyer/Judges – Practicing the law has a dozen ways to local records in town’s and big cities. Where did they go to school? • Doctor/Nurse – Where did they go to school? How did they pay for it? • Coal Miners – museum and archives are all over the Country • Railroad - museum and archives are all over the Country