Tag Archive | Research

The Term “Housewife” in Genealogy

As summer rolls on Lorel and I have been thinking a lot about the women in our families and their lives. We’ve had several discussions and some of that will be posted here on the blog. To get that conversation rolling, we’d like to know what you think about the term “HOUSEWIFE” as so many women were and are referred to in census and other records. Their job is “housewife.” But what does and did that really mean?

Looking both in today’s society and the time of our ancestors, think about these questions:

  • Does the term housewife mean women have less value than men?
  • What does that term entail? Cleaning the house? Cooking, laundry, caring for the children and husband?
  • Does it mean she had no other skills?
  • Have you considered that maybe she had a small job outside the home but was referred to as a housewife when the census taker came around? Or that job was overlooked when an occupation was requested on a death certificate?

What does the term housewife mean to you if you are a woman today? How do you think being a housewife today compares to the role your grandmother or great grandmother played as a housewife?

Please share with us in the comments.

© 2013, Sort Your Story, Sonoma, California

Tuesday’s Tip – Ancestry.com Tree Overview

Want to help people get a better idea of from where you obtained some of your family tree information? Consider putting it in the Tree Info section of your Ancestry.com family tree! This is where you give the tree a name and write a short description. Consider including the main surnames and a brief bibliography of major sources such as published and unpublished family histories! Someone may stumble upon this description and contact you because they see you have a published version of a family history they didn’t know existed!

© 2013, Lorel Kapke, Sort Your Story

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