Each week on Randy Seaver’s Genea-musings blog he has a post for Saturday night Genealogy fun. Because of the time difference, I have called my series Sunday Afternoon Genealogy Fun. This week’s mission was:
1) Which of your ancestors had an unusual occupation?
2) Tell us about it in a blog post of your own, in a comment on this blog, or in a Facebook post.
The ancestor who had the most unusual occupation would probably be my great grandfather Alexander Alexander Harley who was working as a French Polisher at the time of my grandmother’s birth in 1890. The following is an excerpt from a book about the Harley family written by Donald Stevens (a descendant of Alexander’s father Robert Harley) shortly before his (Donald’s) death in 1984.
In about the year 1880, when he was fourteen years old, Alexander Alexander Harley was apprenticed to the trade of a French polisher. In this trade, brown shellac was dissolved in methylated spirits and rubbed on to furniture, many coats of the polish giving a wood a brilliant shine. Nowadays French polish is quite obsolete, except on antique furniture. It has been replaced by synthetic clear lacquers.
Alexander’s father Robert had been a farmer at Rochford when Alexander was young, and Alexander returned to farming in the 1890s when he selected land at Woolamai and became a dairy farmer.