Denise Spurlock of Reflecting on Genealogy has issued a Workday Wednesday Challenge. The challenge is to trace an ancestor through the census, paying close attention to the ancestor's occupation. I chose my paternal 3rd great grandfather John F King.
His first appearance in census records is in 1850, where he appears as a 7 year old in the household of Thomas P and Elizabeth King. Obviously as he was a child at the time, no occupation is given. I was surprised to see that he hadn't attended school within the year.
The next appearance is in 1860. He is now 17 years old, still living with Thomas P and Elizabeth King. No occupation is given, but he has attended school within the year.
In 1870, he is 27 and living with Thomas P and Elizabeth King. His occupation is listed as at home. He hasn't attended school within the year, but is literate.
At age 37 in 1880, we finally see that Thomas P and Elizabeth King are his parents. He is still living with them, but listed as married with a tick in the column for widowed or divorced. I know he married Lydia A Barker in 1876 and they had a child, William King. It appears Lydia passed away because John is with his family and the child is living with Lydia's mother and stepfather. We finally have an occupation, shoemaker, and under the months unemployed column, it looks like 8.
In the 1900 census, John is finally the head of the household. He is married to Celia (Grossenbacher) and has six children. One of these children is my paternal 2nd great grandfather Elmen Frank King. John's occupation hasn't changed; he is still a shoemaker.
In 1910, John is still with Celia and has five children living with him. Since Celia is listed as mother to 7, all alive, we can assume the other two children (both girls) have married at this point. He is still listed as a shoemaker, but this time with the note that he owns his own shop.
John F King passed away in 1918 so the 1910 census is his last appearance. I'm curious about his occupation as a shoemaker. As far as I know, no one in the family was a shoemaker. His occupation on the Civil War Draft Registration, taken in 1863, is farmer.
There is a neighbor on the next page of the 1880 census who is listed as a shoemaker, Obediah Windland. It is possible that he may have taught John the trade. I've found no other connection between the two men.