One of the great things we can learn about our ancestors was their employment. What did they do for a living? Were they in agriculture, politics or factory life? Just for fun, I am going to list some of my ancestors and their occupation. I believe the 1850 Census was the first time occupation was asked.
Walter Everett Whitehead, was my great-grandfather. In the 1900 Census, he was listed as a Merchant. Some of my family owned a general store, Stevens, Martin and Company. Business was good, as cotton was king at that time. Walter was also a politician. He served as a Georgia State Senator from 1911-12, and then again 1937-38.
Peter Kersten, my great-grandfather, after arriving in the United States when he was 21, went to work at a brewery. He is listed as working there for both the 1900, 1910, 1920 census. However, by 1930, he is listed as an Elevator Operator for a Radio Company. By the 1940 Census, he was 67 years old and was not working.