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Did your ancestors jobs keep up with the times? You sure did not want to continue to being a buggy wipp maker when the automobile was invented. It was not a good idea for the longevity of your family to stay in Europe with low paying jobs when you could find higher paying ones in a growing United States.
Just like today our ancestors needed to learn to roll with the many changes that happened in their lives. Only through the ability to make the correct decisions were our families able to continue to flourish.
The primary activity in the United States in the 1800's was Agriculture, but as we came to the close of the century others factors were influencing our Ancestors. The primary one was the Industrial Revolution and the economical way to travel.
The Industrial Revolution in Urban areas forced our Agricultural society to shift dramatically from rural to urban areas. Our ancestors were forced to learn new skills. Most did not live on large pieces of land. Families often lived in closer groups. The choice of jobs in Urban areas expanded dramatically. Work was based more on strength and braun. Not much on thinking. Men began to gain large amounts of wealth as leaders in the Revolution.
During this time a large amount of Non English speaking people came to America. By and large they settled in cities. They lived closer to others like themselves. This allowed for easier adaptation into the local economy. Many Non English speaking folks word the where muscle was more important than brains.
Finally the improvement in Ship design and the spread of Trains accross the United States greatly improved travel. Now we could get to places in days as compared to months a short time before. Goods could be transported more cheaply which would result in Industrial expansion. This would lead to more jobs.
Are you aware of the changing times? Your ancestors did.