Friday, April 30, 2010

All The Single Ladies

Recently I was Indexing* a page from a New Zealand Shipping Record and I came across a few interesting occupations and inconsistencies. For the life of me I can't remember what year the record was from (darn!) although I do know it was somewhere between 1871-1915. A time when:

A list of family names reads as wonderful as: Leonard, Matilda, Reginald and Millicent Goodday. And said "Leonard" is a Gentleman by occupation. At only 30. Nice catch Matilda!

A single woman's occupation at 36 is "Spinster" and at 24 is "Maid".

Yet a single male at 32 can have his occupation listed as Traveller. Hmmm.

Then things got a little more complicated.
A single, 24 year old male = Gentleman?
A single, 23 year old female = Spinster?
At least I can understand a married, 40 year old, woman being a Lady.

I guess I don't understand the pattern after all.

*FamilySearch Indexing is done by volunteers throughout the world from their own home computers, and involves indexing digitised images containing historic names. Images are scanned from various sources e.g. US Census, other country censuses, Births, Deaths and Marriages records, shipping records. It's the absolute easiest way to participate in some sort of "family history" I've found. It's not my family, but it is someone else's, and it takes as much time as I've got to give it, even if it's only 10 minutes, once off and never again. If you're interested, click through and take a look!


  1. Thanks for this awesome link! I will let you know why I found this so useful in an upcoming post! X

  2. Nicole - This post was actually kind of FOR you, I knew you would appreciate it because of a few Facebook status updates of yours recently.

  3. You mean I could put "spinster" as my occupation?! Does this mean I would be paid for it? This weekend I've been asked about a dozen times what I do for a living. I've been saying "I'm a Woman of Elegant Leisure." But now I'm totally saying, "Spinster."