For the #genealogyphotoaday Occupation prompt, I shared two images from the 1851 England Census. If you check out the images posted, you can see many Kitto’s were “Miner Lead”. There are two Kitto families on each image. The first head of household is Richard Kitto, my 3 x great grandfather. The other households are headed up by three of his sons, Joseph, Sampson and Richard, my 2 x great grandfather.
Most of my male Cornish family were miners, as I wrote in an earlier post. However, what I need to say is how easily we can misinterpret what we extract from sources. Sometimes we read what we would like to find out about our ancestors and not simply, the facts.
What did I initially read “Miner Lead” to mean?
In this case, I saw “Miner Lead” and read lead not as a metal being mined but that Richard Kitto was a lead miner, a “leader” – see the top image. This thought happened even though many others on the page are listed as “Miner Lead” too. Gosh, even his sons, Richard and Sampson both had “Miner Lead” as their occupation on another census page – see the second image. It was illogical that they would all be the “leader”. After this bit of vanity thinking that my ancestors were more than hard-working miners, I came to my senses.
I should have also noted that the neighbour’s occupations are listed in the same format. That is, the occupation followed by the type of ore they mined – “Miner Tin”. I took little notice of this until I started thinking with more clarity and saw my misinterpretation.
Fortunately, I sourced the detail as written on the census so did not have to correct it.
Sources for the 1851 England Census images:
Class: HO107; Piece: 1909; Folio: 442; Page: 10; GSU roll: 221061-221062
Class: HO107; Piece: 1909; Folio: 440; Page: 6; GSU roll: 221061-221062
Do you ever let vanity bias your analysis? Please leave a comment.
That is the end of Letter O for Occupation in this days A to Z blogging challenge. Here are more AtoZChallenge posts for 2019 or view this #GenealogyPhotoADay and follow along with others on Instagram.
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