One of my favorite census records is the 1900 census. It's not the particular year that makes it my favorite. It's the information contained within it. This census record documents some of my favorite facts about my great-grandparents.
My dad's grandparents were some pretty interesting and special people. Ezra Frantz, my great-grandfather, grew up in Illinois. His family lived in a religious community. They were the Brethren. According to family lore, he saw a picture of my great-grandmother, Mary Buckley, and told her cousin (who also lived up there) that was going to marry the girl in the picture - and he did. They had four children and adopted their fifth child.
By the 1910 census, more information is provided - indicating that Ezra worked in Machine Shops. By 1920, Ezra is described as a hardware merchant. By 1930, he was a mechanic. By 1940, he was a salesman for the Steel Buckle Factory (ancestry.com simplifies this in a pop-up as "Industry"). I found Ezra's evolving career description to be my favorite "In the Census" items. Ezra has his own exhibit on this site, featuring a transcription of his business activities. My great-grandfather, more than anything - more than salesman, more than a machinist, more than a business owner - was an inventor. His patents can be found on Google. I've got pictures of the cotton bale buckle (and the machine) that he created.
I had two main take-aways from this blog exercise. The first is that I'm amazed at how one word can be used to describe so much of what we do. That's the same thing for all of us, though, isn't it? We have a job title, but it doesn't REALLY describe in detail what we do. The second is that if Ezra's occupation description changed every ten years - and that's JUST Ezra - what do these census records say about my other family members? Does this, perhaps, indicate an occupational audit is needed, not only for this site but also for my tree itself? I think so.