International Institute of Genealogical Studies


International Institute of Genealogical Studies - LEADERS IN ONLINE GENEALOGY EDUCATION

Finishing Up English Occupations

By Shannon Bennett, Student

Well, I just finished English: Occupations-Professions and Trades and took the final. Wow, that was all around awesome, but definitely not for the faint of heart. I think I need a couple days to recover so it is a good thing that I have a few days before the next one starts!

Anvil by Jeff Ratcliff. Courtesy of

This course really makes me wish I knew more about my UK ancestors. Jumping the pond has not been easy for me. Well, if I am completely honest it’s been nearly impossible. Why do my ancestors not want us to know where they came from?!

For those of you lucky enough to live there, or know more details about their ancestors, I can’t recommend this course enough. You should seriously consider taking it particularly if you have run into brick walls. It gives you great resources to check out for research as well as amazing information on social history and what different occupations were.

My most recent UK ancestor immigrated to the US in 1820. Before that it was a steady stream all the way back to the Mayflower. My husband on the other hand has a much closer ancestor. His great-grandmother and her family immigrated to New York from Ystradyfodwg, Glamorgan, Wales in 1882.

Even better, his mother shared stories with us that her grandmother told us about growing up there.  Elizabeth Pittard immigrated at the age of 14 and she had amazing stories about her father working in a coal mine. I paid particular attention to the section on miners and mining in the course because of this.  And yes, I now have a lot of homework ahead of me to discover what I can about him and his family.

Those of you simply interested in social history will not be disappointed either. Dr. Christensen, the course author,  takes the time to explain the history, needs, obstacles, and aspects of working life that effected our ancestors in their trades. That in and of itself is a fantastic reason to register. The historian in me found myself reading, enthralled, for hours at a time. Stopping to do the homework was almost a nuisance as I wanted to get back to reading!

Okay, on to the next course.  See you online!

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