Tuesday, 24 April 2012

O is for Occupations

A friend likes to find out what someone does for a living by asking "What do you do to keep the wolves at bay?" This can elicit any number of responses, from "I'm a teacher" or "I drink" to "I'm a lawyer" (and yes, I know that some may say that the lawyers are the wolves that people are working so hard to keep away!).

I have one friend who, in response to such a question, would most like say that she is professionally unemployed. For me, I get to say that I'm a travel agent (or if I'm feeling particularly poetic, that I make people's dreams come true). Formerly, it would have been that I was a wolf lawyer having managed to try out these two very different careers so far (out of the average three that we Gen Xers are supposed to have in our life time).

I still don't really know what I want to be when I grow up but I think I get to say that I am the first travel agent in the family, at least I think I do. I know though that I wasn't the first lawyer in Cam's Fam (or on my paternal line for that matter). Having been staring at a number of census responses recently, which often notes the occupations of those being 'census-ed' (that's word, I'm sure) I thought I would share with you how some of our forebears kept the wolves at bay!

And so today O is for Occupations. As in:

Seaman - like John and James Cameron, Robert's younger brothers
Master Mariner - like Torquil Harold Urquhart
Fenar* - like Janet Cramond
Domestic servant - like Janet Ann Crighton, Jessie's recently discovered daughter
Miliner - like Janet Ann Cameron, daughter of Alexander, brother of Robert (so our Robert's niece)
Scholar - like pretty much every family member who grew up in Scotland and went to school
Journeyman hatter - like Pa
Nursing Sister - like Didi, Mum, Aunty Tine and a few others!
Baker - like Betsy Murdoch before she married our Robert
Teacher - like our Robert's daughter, Margaret Sim Cameron
Farmer - like Didi's dad, Stan Clark
Accountant - like Didi's mum, Violet Jowett
Bootmaker - like Thomas Clark, Didi's great grandfather
Baptist Minister - like Didi's paternal grandfather Rev. Henry Clark
Painter - like Albert Jowett, Didi's maternal grandfather
And, as is most common amongst the men in Cam's Fam who at some stage were born or lived in Garmouth:
Shipwright - our Robert, his father Alexander and his brother Alexander.

*In the 1871 census Janet Cameron (nee Cramond) was referred to a "Fenar". In the 1861 census she had been noted as a House Proprietor, which is basically the same thing. As best I can tell, a fenar is an old word for someone who is in the actual possession of or entitled to receive the rents of lands.  


  1. Ah, I am just a lowly teacher. lol Actually, I enjoy it. You've had some interesting occupations in your family thus far. Cool beans!

  2. Thank you! This was the only place where I've been able to find out what a fenar was! My husband and I are doing his family tree and one of his ancestors is listed as a fenar. Interestingly, also a woman.