Sunday, January 31, 2016

More on my working class bonafides

One of my cousins is a genealogy buff and has created a pretty comprehensive record of my mother's side of the family. Her family is from Philadelphia since at least the early 1800s. But one of my Great-Great-Great Grandfathers was from Ireland originally. He was born in 1802 and according to the record he was "Proprietor of an oyster saloon in Philadelphia." Apparently
"By 1850, nearly every major town in North America had oyster bar, oyster cellar, oyster parlor, or oyster saloon—almost always located in the basement of the establishment (where keeping ice was easier).[9][10] Oysters and bars often went hand-in-hand in the United States, because oysters were seen as a cheap food to serve alongside beer and liquor.
So I'm guessing a nineteenth century oyster bar was pretty working class.

A branch of the family tree of Daniel McAleer, oyster bar proprietor.

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Great-Great Grandmother (Philadelphia) 
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Great Grandmother (Philadelphia)
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Grandmother (Philadelphia)


The only semi-famous member of my ancestry is Iggy Wolfington. And his family was pretty well-off, one of my few somewhat upper-class ancestors.

He's my grandfather's cousin. Here's how I'm related to him.

Great Grandmother (Philadelphia)
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Grandfather (Philadelphia)

 -> Great Granduncle (Philadelphia)
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Iggy Wolfington
The grandfather of my grandfather and Iggy was Alexander J. Wolfington, who according to this web site was born in Nova Scotia and was the son of a sea captain. Nobody apparently knows what the captain's name was or where he was from. Probably England.

So I don't know - it seems like the Wolfington branch of my family was rather more upper-class than usual - I assume a sea captain was more hoity-toity than your rank-and-file limey. Or a sea cook. But the rest of them were common as dirt.




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