Workday Wednesday – Women in the Census

For Women’s History Month, I will be highlighting different women and/or records of my female ancestors (and my husband’s ancestors too). Today is all about the jobs we find for women in the census. Census records are one of the most valuable resources that we have available when researching our family. Occupations were not specifically recorded until 1850, and in 1910 a column for industry was added, providing more details about where our ancestors worked.

I have learned much about the women in my family though the occupations that were recorded in the census. The most common occupation for women, especially in the 19th century, as well as in rural farm or mining communities, was that of homemaker. The instructions for the 1870 note that “Women keeping house for their own families or for themselves, without any other gainful occupation, will be entered as ‘keeping house.’ Grown daughters assisting them will be reported without occupation.”

1870 Etna CUbbage

In 1870 “Cath” [Catherine] Cubbage, age 50, reported an occupation of keeping house. She was living with her grown and teenage children and was likely separated (her husband William is consistently found living elsewhere). Her daughter Mary, age 20, was working as a seamstress.

1870 Penn Cubbage

In the same year, “Barbary Copige” [Barbara Cubbage], age 35, was keeping house in rural Butler County. Her daughter Sarah, age 15, was “at home” and likely helping her mother.

1870 Burd

Another common occupation for women in my family ws that of domestic servant or simply servant. In 1870, “Mary Bird” [Mary Ann Burd], age 18, was working as a domestic servant with Martha and Isaac Mason in McKeesport, a suburb of Pittsburgh. The Masons, only a few years older than Mary,  would later file an affidavit for Mary’s veteran’s widow’s pension to provide details about her wedding and marriage to Charles Schwenk in 1871 (less than a year after this census).

1880 JCubbage Census

1880 Sara C Middlesex

Sarah Cubbage worked as servant for many years with the Logan Family in Butler County. Sarah never married, and she worked for, and possibly lived with, the Logans until she died in 1902 after falling on some ice. In 1880, Sarah, age 25, was found enumerated twice – once with her parents in Penn Township, and then again with the Logan family in neighboring Middlesex Township. She was recorded as a servant in both records.

I am always happy to see women in our family who have the occupation of at school – especially when they are in the teenage years, since many did not attend school past 8th grade (until into the 20th century). In 1900, Carrie and Hattie Draper, ages 16 and 19, are at school while living with their brother in Bedford County, Virginia. Their father had died the year prior, and the sisters and widow lived with older brother Walter Draper.

Occasionally, I have found women who had taken over a husband’s occupation after his death. Also in 1900, Jane Cubbage, age 72, was recorded as a farmer just a few months after her husband Jacob died. They had a substantial amount of property in Buffalo Township, Pennsylvania, including land that was being mined for oil and gas. Her son John would take over managing the land and farm a few years later.

In 1920, Elizabeth Linnemann, age 54 and also a widow, was found working as a “stuart.” at a hotel in Monessen, Pennsylvania. She was most likely a steward, and could have worked as a waitress or bartender. Her son Christian (here as “Christopher”) had the same occupation and worked most of his life as steward and bartender in local hotels and establishments. Elizabeth lived in the city of Monessen, which provided more opportunities for work than was available for some of my women ancestors who lived in rural areas.

In the 20th century, I have found additional occupations for women – at least before they married. In 1900, Margaret Cubbage, age 26, was found working as a teacher in Allegheny City. Margaret also never married, and spent her life working in education.

Living in a city or suburb provided more options for women to work in clerical occupations. In 1930, the Cubbage sisters were living in the city of Monessen with their parents and siblings. Marian, age 25, was working as bookkeeper at a bank. Marian never married and would have a long career as a bookkeeper (my dad remembers Marian to be the most financially stable aunt, and the first of those Cubbage siblings to own a car). Minnie, age 22, and Gladys, age 19, were working as stenographers at a real estate office and the steel mill. Both sisters would leave these positions after they married. And at this time, mother Maine had an occupation of none rather than keeping house.

I found an interesting “occupation” in the 1910 census. Jennie [Cubbage] Kearns, age 75 and widowed, was living in Pittsburgh with her daughter Jeanne. Both women reported an occupation of own income. Jennie’s husband, William D. Kearns, has been a well-known and successful physician in Pittsburgh. I guess they were financially stable!

I love piecing together the stories of my female ancestors. I encourage to take a look at your female ancestors through the occupations that you find in the census. Do you see changes in each generation? Do the women in more urban areas have better jobs? Did any young widows go back to work?


SOURCES:

Census Office, Department of the Interior, “Ninth Census, United States, 1870; Instructions to Assistant Marshalls,” Washington: Government Printing Office, 1870; The United States Census Bureau (https://www.census.gov/history/www/ through_the_decades/census_instructions/1870_instructions.html : accessed 1 March 2019).

1870 U.S. census, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Etna, p. 10 (penned), sheet 399B (stamped), dwelling 71, family 78, Cath Cubbage household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 March 2019), citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 1299.

1870 U.S. census, Butler County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Penn Township, p. 15 (penned), dwelling 115, family 115, James Copige household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 19 September 2016), citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 132.

1870 U.S. census, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, North Versailles, population schedule, McKeesport Post Office, p. 20 (penned), dwelling 137, family 137, Isaac Mason; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 January 2014) citing National Archives publication M5393, roll 1294.

1880 U.S. census, Butler County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Penn Township, Enumeration District (ED) 52, p. 413B (stamped), p. 10 (penned), dwelling 80, family 84, James Cubbage household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 19 September 2016), citing NARA  microfilm publication T9, roll 1109.

1880 U.S. census, Butler County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Middlesex Township, Enumeration District (ED) 46, p. 326D (stamped), p. 12 (penned), dwelling 101, family 104, Sarah Cubbage in John R. Logan household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 September 2016), citing NARA  microfilm publication T9, roll 1109.

1900 U.S. census, Bedford County, Virginia, population schedule, Lisbon District, Enumeration District (ED) 11, sheet 12-A, p. 206 (stamped), dwelling 196, family 262, Walt Draper household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 March 2019), citing National Archives microfilm publication T623.

1900 U.S. census, Butler County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Buffalo Township, Enumeration District (ED) 54, sheet 5-A, p. 51 (stamped), dwelling 98, family 100, Jane Cubbage; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 March 2019), citing National Archives microfilm publication T623.

1920 U.S. census, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Monessen Ward 1, Enumeration District (ED) 152, sheet 2-B, p. 147 (stamped), dwelling 22, family 38, Elizabeth Lineman household; digital images,  Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 November 2018), citing National Archives microfilm publication T625, roll 1666.

1900 U.S. census, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Allegheny City, Enumeration District (ED) 10, sheet 1-A, p. 102 (stamped), dwelling 8, family 9, Martha C. Cubbage household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 March 2019), citing National Archives microfilm publication T623.

1930 U.S. census, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Monessen City, Enumeration District (ED) 65-98, sheet 8-A, p. 106 (stamped), dwelling 119, family 163, Charles A. Cubbage household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 March 2019), citing National Archives microfilm publication T626.

1910 U.S. census, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Pittsburgh Ward 13, Enumeration District (ED) 450, sheet 4-B, p. 158 (stamped), dwelling 86, family 89, Jennie C. Kearns; digital images,  Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 March 2019), citing National Archives microfilm publication T624, roll 1303.

© 2019 LAURA CUBBAGE-DRAPER. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Wordless Wednesday – Simko Family Photo

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I  love this photo of my husband’s grandmother, Mary, and her family! This was taken in New Kensington, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania in the 1920’s. Michael Simko and Mary Kelovcy were born in Zaluzice, Slovakia and arrived in the United States before 1914. Their children, Mary, Susan, Michael and Walter, were all born in Springdale, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania before their parents decided to return to Slovakia in the late 1920s. Mary, Michael and Walter each married in Slovakia and then came back to the United States to stay. Only Susan remained in Slovakia.