Category Archives: The Bains

Census Sunday – 1900 “heater boy”

Recently I have had the wonderful fortune to connect to a couple distant cousins on Ancestry. I’ve seen lots of people who have stories about this, but it’s never happened to me until now. As many of you know, I  am not close to my paternal side of my family. Up until three weeks ago I only had the names of my grandparents. After some heavy nudging from an Aunt, I finally got some details on my paternal ancestors.

A quick input into Ancestry and I was directed to Kim and Patrick’s trees. Thankfully they had a ton of pictures and stuff on my ancestors. It was like hitting the motherlode. Unfortunately I only had a couple weeks left on my Ancestry account so I tried to get as much info as I could as fast as I could save it. That meant that I couldn’t go through each piece of documentation I could as thoroughly as possible. I downloaded a ton of census records, birth/death/marriage, pictures, and other documents to verify once my account was cancelled.

Anyway that was a few days ago. I’ve been slowly going through the documents and I came across this interesting (at least for me) 1900 Census. It’s from Pennsylvania for Abraham Bain and his family. You can click on the image to make it bigger if needed.


I’ve noticed that a lot of my Bain family worked on the railroads. That in itself was interesting because most of my maternal side were farmers or shoe makers. It was nice to see something else. This was a normal looking census with normal jobs on it until I got to my 2x great grandfather’s trade.

heater boy

I had to ask my Facebook group to be sure, but it says “Heater Boy”. Being completely new to  occupations other than farming I had to look it up. I haven’t found any information on that trade specifically, but someone was able to find it on the Alphabetical Index of Occupations and Industries in 1960. There is says that a “Heater Boy” worked in the metalworking field. However I think in Harry’s case it was the heaters on the railroad engines. I don’t’ know much about this railway in this time period, so maybe someone can help me out a bit. In later census’ Harry has become a Railway Car Inspector, which further makes me believe that was what he was working on in 1900.

For me this is what Family History is all about. Learning how our families lived and what their day to day life was all about. I look forward to learning a lot more about my new found branches.