Posted by Juliana Szucs on August 29, 2014 in Collections

Just in time for Labor Day, Ancestry has released a unique collection that relates directly to the occupations of those involved in various crafts, dating back to the 1600s in America – Delaware, Winterthur Museum Craftperson Files, 1600-1995.

The Winterthur Library is devoted to the study of everyday life in America and America’s craft traditions, including furniture making, silversmithing, pottery making, textile production, etc. Among their collections, which is now available on Ancestry, are 91 drawers of index cards – roughly 125,000 of them – each listing the names, working dates, places of residence, and other information about American craftspeople. Data on the cards relate to a wide range of craftspeople, including:

  • artists / painters
  • blacksmiths
  • engravers
  • fraktur artists
  • furniture makers / cabinetmakers / turners / joiners
  • gilders
  • clock- and watchmakers
  • glass workers
  • goldsmiths
  • graphic artists
  • jewelers
  • metalsmiths
  • potters
  • sculptors
  • silversmiths / silver plate workers

Information on the cards includes the names of craftspeople, occupation and working dates, birth and death dates, where they lived, what they made, notes about their professional lives, and bibliographical and source references. (Information about furniture makers and silversmiths is more complete than other occupations, and some of the cards don’t include complete information.)

So this Labor Day weekend, why not pay tribute to the labors of our ancestors and explore this one of a kind collection. What interesting occupations did your ancestors have? We’d like to hear your ancestor’s story.

Juliana Szucs

Juliana Szucs has been working for for more than 19 years. She began her family history journey trolling through microfilms with her mother at the age of 11. She has written many articles for online and print genealogical publications and wrote the "Computers and Technology" chapter of The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy. Juliana holds a certificate from Boston University's Online Genealogical Research Program.


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