Tuesday, 14 April 2015

L is for Living (#AtoZChallenge)

L is for Living (#AtoZChallenge)
L is for Living. What does this mean? As an adjective: having a life; being alive; not dead: living persons. As a noun: the means of maintaining life; livelihood: to earn one's living (Dictionary.com).

Thinking of living, I looked at all the 'living' persons in my family file, i.e. the ones that I knew were 'my family' but who I didn't know their first names. I know their gender and about the time they were born but haven't followed up more information about them. Do you have some 'living' members as well? To be clear, I don't mean those family members that you have all the details. Work to do in the future ...

Then there is 'living' as the means of maintaining life, livelihood. So I thought about how my ancestors earned their daily bread. My paternal grandfather's occupation was coal trimmer. He lived and worked in Newcastle, New South Wales near the coal loading port. My fanciful imagination of what a coal trimmer would do was sitting down and trimming lumps of coal into neat shapes. It took some time for me to find that a coal trimmer was:

The person who sorts the coal in the railway cars after it is dumped into them. He spreads the coals in the waggons or carriages in which the coals are conveyed along a railway from the top of the pit to the staith -which is the place where the coals are shipped by a spout or by a machine for lowering the waggons.When coals from the waggons are dropped or spouted into the hold of a vessel they produce a conical heap which, unless provided against, would soon block up the hatchway. To prevent this, sheets of iron are laid upon the cone as it rises which cause the coals to slide off in all directions ; these are placed by a set of men, called trimmers, who with shovels and rakes still further distribute the coal, or trim the cargo (www.british-genealogy.com).

This was dirty and dangerous work. Trimmers suffered lung infections from the coal dust and an uncle was buried under coal when the coal shifted in the bunker. Chilling reading of the account in the Sydney Morning Herald.
So that's living ...

This post is part of the 2015 Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme is Names: First Names from My Family File. Stay tuned for the rest of the alphabet, and if you'd like to check out the other A to Z participants, simply click here.

1 comment:

  1. Having a life always sounds good while earning a living . . . well, it all depends on the job. And, I think being a coal trimmer would be scary.