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New report: Occupation counts


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#1 PEBlood

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 03:08 AM

Years ago I posted a wish list suggestion that generated some interest and I would like to raise the idea again. RootsMagic should generate a report on "Occupation Frequency." Something that would tell you that you have, say, 42 farmers and 13 ministers in your family.

I currently do this manually. That is, I generate a custom report on occupation and then, person by person, tally up counts for each of my own "labor categories." This takes a few hours, but the KEY to this process is the identification of such labor categories. Currently occupation is an open field, so you might call one guy a "carpenter," another a "house builder" and a third a "housewright" but they do similar things. There are MANY such examples. RootsMagic would need to add labor categories to generate meaningful automated counts. This is somewhat subjective and would probably require refinement over several versions but I think I can help.

I periodically do a manual count of each profession in my database (for fun) and so have thought quite a bit about labor categories. I have listed my results for discussion purposes. Below are counts from my 10,000-person database for my direct-line ancestors only by labor category (my own) for those that include at least two people (I have about 20 more unique occupations):

156 Farmer, husbandman, planter
25 Leather workers (shoemaker, cordwainer, tanner, leather sealer, glover)
24 Mill owner or operator (grist, saw, etc)
22 House wright, carpenter, nailer, thatcher
22 Tavern/innkeeper
20 Businessman, non-mariner merchant, salesman, speculator, feoffe, trader, trapper
20 Mariner/merchant
18 Weaver, Wool comber
16 Clergyman (minister, priest, etc)
16 Tailor, clothier, mercer, draper
14 Fisherman or rigger
11 Factory worker, foremen
10 Laborer, Painter, hired hand
9 Lawyer, Judge, JP, politician
8 Surveyor
7 Blacksmith, ironworker
7 Cattlemen, rancher
7 Doctor, surgeon
6 Clerk
6 Copper, barrel maker
5 Butcher
5 Cabinet maker, joiner, piano maker
5 Midwife, Nurse
4 Civil Engineer, bridge builder
4 Musician
4 Teacher
3 Ferryman
3 Ship owner
3 Shipwright
3 Tax Collector, Bailiff
2 Basket maker
2 Military commander (professional)
2 Post master
2 Shoreman, beach master
2 Soap maker, ashery worker

Do you find this interesting? Would you like to know such information about your ancestors? It takes me hours to tally up occupation counts like this, but RootsMagic could do it in seconds if it provided a drop-down menu forcing you to choose among a list of labor categories or "Occupation types" instead of, or in addition to, an open occupation field. It raises grouping issues however (e.g. do you group "nailers" with "carpenters" or keep them separate?) but nothing that could not be resolved.

One problem is that my list mixes modern and ancient professions. In 1620, you had a bunch of farmers, a couple of shoe-makers, a minister, and that was basically it. You'll notice that I have 4 musicians in my ancestry. Well they came along much later and there are no farmers in my family today but they were nearly all farmers 300 years ago, so my list mixes 1600, 1800, and 1950 occupations together. Any thoughts on that issue?

Please, don't ask about any specific or weird occupation listed above. Google can tell you what a feoffe is. I want to keep the thread on the idea of counting occupations. Wouldn't occupation counts be an interesting and useful feature?

I can provide more information on labor categories to RootsMagic staff if anyone is interested.

#2 Vyger

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 07:49 AM

I agree with this wish and it has been out there before, another important statistical field for some researchers is "cause of death", I'm not sure if that is in version 2.

This could also be expanded to fields like Nationality and Religion for those who would have an interest in those statistics and I suppose also to the description fields of custom fact types. The problem with these fiedls is that they are generally Notes fields and not indexed but there is nothing I know of to prevent this being changed except field length limitations.

Keeping ones customers and their important views at a distance is never a good approach

 

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Excel to Gedcom conversion - simple getting started tutorials here

 

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#3 MVS

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 07:57 AM

I agree. There have been various requests and discussions about the need to have USER controlled value fields; so that those that want to be able to do better analysis of data can have the discipline of setting up and using tables of "valid" codes.

I would support his addition and I guess that apart from Cause of Death and Occupation there might be other event types that would benefit from the option to have reference tables.

An product I would point to that offers very good features in this way is Act!.

On each field the User has the option of allowing it to be:

Free format (as RM4 is now)
Select a Value from the Table only
Select a value OR add values on the fly.

The user can also decide whether a "Null" value is allowed; ie do I allow myself to setup this record if I dont have a value to put in it.

It works very well and allows each user to decide for themselves how disciplined they want to be, on a field by field basis.

MVS.

#4 Vyger

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 08:10 AM

I would support his addition and I guess that apart from Cause of Death and Occupation there might be other event types that would benefit from the option to have reference tables.

I wished a long time ago for the ability to link a particular fact type to an external user maintained "look up" table and also would like to have this ability in the Place List. I have an external table which contains the ~65K Townlands of Ireland together with their Parishes and Baronys etc and whilst I have no desire to have it as part of my Place List I reference it frequently (memory isn't what it used to be :D )

I am sure other users would have similar reference material for other countries in the world or other interests that would be of no interest to me but they should have the facility to link it to the appropriate table in RM for reference look up.

Forgot to say earlier but I have an Old Occupation List Here and there is also an Old Illness List if anyone wants them as a starting point.

Keeping ones customers and their important views at a distance is never a good approach

 

User of Family Historian 7.0.3, Rootsmagic 7.6.5

 

Excel to Gedcom conversion - simple getting started tutorials here

 

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#5 Romer

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 12:25 PM

PEB, the several summary requests that you've just recently posted may suggest your wish for an expansion of capability within Custom Reports. You'd indicate which fields were to be grouped fields and which were to be summary fields (counts), and the program would produce results accordingly. Adding this functionality would allow users to avoid having to export data to a spreadsheet program in order to do pivot tables and the like. Of course, this enhancement wouldn't address your particular issue in this request involving the grouping of similar occupations . . .

As with your other couple requests, you can currently work around things to achieve your result until/if any changes are made to the program. Again, create a Custom Report and export the data to a spreadsheet program, and parse it (if you export more than one field). In this case, however, create a lookup table that lists your occupation as in the database in one column and the grouped category in which you'd like to report that occupation in another. You can then create formulas to translate from one to the other and then produce a pivot table (or equivalent in non-Escel products) to report counts by those grouped occupations.

Save this spreadsheet file so that you have your occupation groupings the next time that you need them. In Excel, make sure to use the VLOOKUP option that returns an error so that you can easily identify which new occupations might need to be added to the lookup table.

#6 Renee Zamora

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 02:15 PM

Confirming wish list items are in our tracking system.
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#7 PEBlood

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 12:07 AM

Another complication to consider is that many people have multiple occupations, like planter AND innkeeper. They may hold such occupations either simultaneously or successively which is not important to me but might be to someone else.