As far back as I’ve yet been able to discover, my ancestors were rural farmers like most of their neighbors, whether they lived in the Mid-Atlantic, the South, or the Midwest. Among that set, I’ve yet to find their occupations a useful tool in solving any of my research problems. When I research other people’s ancestors, especially in urban areas, it’s a very different experience.
Andrew Allen, bird cage maker, lived in New York City from at least 1812, when he married Maria Lasher, until 1842, when he bought land and moved to Suffolk County. With an occupation that unusual, I was confident that it would be easy to differentiate the subject Andrew Allen from other NYC men of the same name and time period. I was seriously mistaken.
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