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
20 Businessman, non-mariner merchant, salesman, speculator, feoffe, trader, trapper
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
7 Blacksmith, ironworker
7 Cattlemen, rancher
7 Doctor, surgeon
6 Copper, barrel maker
5 Cabinet maker, joiner, piano maker
5 Midwife, Nurse
4 Civil Engineer, bridge builder
3 Ship owner
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.
PEBloodMember Since 07 Apr 2005
Offline Last Active Dec 06 2010 01:58 AM
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