This journey is going to lead me down the path of the Birch's and all those other names that have joined them. I know this will take me to England, Germany, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois and elsewhere. The men in this family will be working as coalminers, railroad brakemen and Laborers in Saw Mills.

The common name "birch" is derived from an old Germanic root, birka, with the Proto-Indo-European root *bherəg, "white, bright; to shine."

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Mystery Occupations for these Birch's

As I was searching through census records in order to piece together the lives of Henry Birch, Ellen Emily Birch, and their two children William Henry Birch and Emily Birch,  I came across some odd occupations that I had never seen before.

Looking at the 1911 Census of England it reports that Henry and William were both working as "Twisthands".  Emily, 18 yrs old, was working as a "Jacker-off".  I had no idea what type of occupations those were.  So I began my search here

I love that site and have found it quite useful to research occupations that I have never heard of.  I encourage you all to save that in your favorites or bookmark it.    What I found was a "twisthand" is - one who operated a lace machine.  So both father and son were lace machine operators.   Now we get to Emily who is a "jacker-off".  I couldn't find that occupation on that site but in searching the internet I found a random message board where someone posted that a "jacker-off" is - takes off from bobbins, waste lengths of unused threads, and winds them on to large wooden bobbins, using a small winding machine.   I'm sure father and his children,  of this Birch family, all worked at the same lace factory.    You can see that mother stayed at home.  

Other interesting facts I find on this 1911 Census from England was that they lived at 35 Milner Road, Long Eaton, UK.    The housing box states, "Write below the Number of Rooms in this Dwelling (House, Tenement, or Apartment) count the Kitchen as a room but do not count scullery, landing, lobby, closet, bathroom; nor warehouse, office, shop".  Henry Birch listed 5 rooms. 

Learned from this 1911 Census is that mother had a total of 6 children.  Three of the are living and three of them have died.  This isn't surprising as this seemed common at that time. 

Thank you Henry, William and Emily for working in fields that I was not aware of.  Because of the three of you I'm just a little smarter today.  :)

Warm Regards,