Tag Archive | housewife

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.

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