As all family trees would show, individuals literally did everything. By reading the Federal Census for the decades you can get an idea of what people did primarily to make a buck or to help raise a family. Interestingly the descriptors used to identify the roles family members. Most kids were labeled “son” or “daughter” with “at school” used to show what the kids were doing during the day. Census reports for the late 1800 decades and up to about 1950 showed “at school” for the most part for kids up to ages 12 or 14.  Beginning with 1960 kids were shown to be “at school” for most kids to age 16.

Fathers were designated as”head” whether they were or not with mothers labeled as “wife” who was “keeping house”. Not much variation to this Census categorization appears until the 1970 decade. Fathers had “real” occupations usually designated as “laborer”. Specific trades appear for many of those males in the Murphy Family Tree.  We had a variety, e.g. “ brakeman”’boilermaker,” “bartender”,and  policeman”  .Females were occupied as “clerks” in stores or banks and as well with the obvious ones such as “teacher”, “nurse”, “waitress”.

John Henry Murphy, father of George B. Murphy and others, and husband of Ellen (Helena) C(k)avanaugh for most of his “working” life was shown having the occupation of “gas pipe fitter”. I assume he was quite busy in this trade  in the late 1800s into the 1900s. Lots of homes and businesses were being”fitted” with light and stove fixtures in the New London and Boston neighborhoods. Researching this trade has shown me that at the turn of the century this trade had been union controlled with what appeared to “decent wage” occupation.

J. Henry’s salary and trade most likely played a role in deciding whether getting married in 1893 (Feb 14) was the correct decision for him and Ellen Cavanaugh. Perhaps their fathers, Edward Murphy and Bartholomew Cavanaugh were involved with their decision. But marriage it was.And soon after the Murphy family began. (More to say about that later).

I’m including a photo of the Boston marriage register for 1893. Scroll down to the third from the bottom entry to locate our JH and Ellen’ marriage entry. It is easy to make a mistake if you don’t have related information. For example on this page there are several marriages for John Murphys. This photo is a cut version of the original so it fits on page. I’ll figure a way to get whole photos on the page. Carry on good folks!


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