One of the many fantastic things about being involved in family research is the amount that you learn about your ancestor's history and social history in general. What began for me as a crossword like exercise in filling in the blanks has now become a full blown obsession. A wise friend who has been involved with tracing family histories for years warned me that once you start researching your family you will never finish. How right he was!
Recently I came across the census return for my 3rd Great grandfather Thomas William Stokoe. He is listed as being born in Blaydon, Durham, England. Thomas is listed as being 31 years old, living with his wife Jane (32) and children Mary, Dorothy and Sarah.
Thomas' occupation is fellmonger. After some research I discovered that a fellmonger is a dealer in sheepskins. The job seems to be fairly unpleasant as it involves removing the skin from the sheep soon after slaughter to prevent decay.