Perhaps I shouldn’t be one to complain; in this day-and-age of using computers for everything, my hand-writing is likely even worse; but sometimes the writing on old records like census returns and birth/marriage/death records are really hard to read. You’ve got to feel for the people whose job it is to transcribe them for use on the plethora of websites now available for you to make your own family tree. Some of them, I’m convinced you can only decipher if you already know what it’s supposed to say.
Take place names, and worse still, house names; if you’re not from the local area where the places are being recorded, you’ve no chance of getting them right. However, they do a good enough job that someone local can work what it was meant to say, so I guess that’s half the battle.
Occupations are harder though; Sure the common ones are easy to decipher – with a tree of 5000+ people, 45% Knitters and 45% Fishermen, those I can spot. However, every so often I come across one that really makes no sense. In this one case it was transcribed as “Formerly Cond Trung Car”. Pardon? I thought, surely that’s got to be an error in transcription, that can’t be anything close to what was written. So I purchased the actual image the transcription was made from and it said …“Formerly Cond Trung Car”. Pardon?
OK, so I’m none the wiser. I’ve asked on some ancestry web sites and had nothing that rings true either. The most common suggestion was “Formerly Conductor Tram Car” but since there are no trams in Shetland, that seems unlikely. I personally think that “Car” is short for Carpenter, certainly I have seen it used for that before. And, I’ve toyed with the idea that “Trung” is Training, since the guy in question is aged 23, but I can’t work out what “Cond” is.
So I’m putting this out to the world. Does anyone have any idea what this guys occupation might be?