Saturday, June 20, 2020

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Your Father's Work History

As I expected, with today being the day before Father's Day, Randy Seaver has chosen fathers as the theme for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun:

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission:  Impossible! music), is:

(1) Sunday, 19 June, is Father's Day.  Let's celebrate by writing a blog post about your father, or another significant male ancestor (e.g., a grandfather).

(2) What was your father's occupation?  What jobs did he have throughout his life?  Do you know his work history?

(3) Tell us all about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a Facebook Status post.

I don't have a detailed work history about my father.  Unlike my grandfather, who created a chronological listing of every job he had held, my father didn't do anything similar (but then again, who does?).

What I do know is that most of the jobs my father held during his life had something to do with cars.  During his younger years, most of those jobs were as a mechanic.  While my family lived in the Los Angeles area, he owned at least one garage of his own, and I suspect he worked at more for other people.

While we lived in Australia, he was again a mechanic.  (In fact, that's part of the reason we moved to Australia, because they were looking for skilled tradesmen at the time as potential immigrants.)  I know the name of one place he worked:  Frank Woodham Ford in Maroubra Junction, a suburb of Sydney, New South Wales.  And I know that because a photo of my father working with a Sun 1120 Engine Analyzer (probably spelled Analyser in Australia?) was used by Woodham Ford in a newspaper advertisement, and my father saved a copy.  I used that photo with a blog post (coincidentally, one for Father's Day), and a fellow BART train operator recognized the machine.

When my family returned to the United States in 1973, my father was still a mechanic.  He had his own garage again by 1975, in Niceville, Florida, because that's where my family and my father's business partner sheltered during Hurricane Eloise.

As he started getting older and his arthritis became worse, he really couldn't do the mechanical work anymore.  I know he worked in at least one auto parts store for a while.  I think that was in Fort Walton Beach.

Part of the reason I'm having trouble remembering a lot of specifics was that my father's work history was apparently a little sketchy.  I remember him telling me when he hit retirement age that he was shocked to learn he had never worked more than five years at any job.  While that is not unusual nowadays, especially in the tech field, for someone born in 1935, it was not common.  He started selling stuff on eBay to help supplement his Social Security income; I don't know if that counts as a "job."


  1. You actually remember quite a bit. It's cool about immigrating to Australia as a skilled worker.

    1. Thank you! But I don't remember nearly as much as you did.

      And it was cool immigrating to Australia. :)

  2. I agree with Lisa - you remember quite a bit. Did you enjoy the time spent in Australia? That would have been a very exotic place to live back then.

    1. Thank you! I guess my memory wasn't as bad as I thought.

      I very much enjoyed our time in Australia. I don't know if exotic is really the right word, though. We lived in the Sydney area, which even then was definitely a city. In some ways it was similar to a throwback to an earlier, less developed period in the U.S.


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