1880 Census, Portville, Cattaraugus Co, NY


I mentioned in a previous blog post about my other hobby of miniatures and dollhouses. I recently ran across an unusual occupation in the 1880 census while doing some work for a client (although genealogy is just a hobby/avocation, I sometimes take on client projects as time permits).

As shown above (although I apologize as this is not the greatest image to share), Fanny Maxson’s occupation was listed as that of “Dollhouse work” in the 1880 U.S. Census. I have never run across an occupation such as this before. My first thought was that maybe she did not function intellectually at her stated age (and therefore did not do real housework, only played with dolls). On second thought, though, it appears that she was married since she has a different surname than that of her father with whom she was living. I am unsure at this point, more research is needed. Unfortunately, this was not the correct family I was looking for and will have to set it aside to pursue another time. Oh, Fanny, what secrets do you hold?

I would love to hear more about any unusual occupations from census records. If anyone has any examples or ideas as to what Fanny might have been doing in 1880, please share!

Plus, if there are any blogging buddies that can help: I can't seem to find a good way of sharing census images on my blog. I had a portion of the above census captured to a One Note file and tried to blog it that way, but the actual image part didn't show up. Any assistance is appreciated!


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