My great grandfather George Albert Anderson was a pioneer of the transportation industry in Boston in the early 1900's. He lived in Maine - born and died there - and always listed on the federal census for his hometown in Maine. On the census report his occupation is given as Conductor or Electric Conductor. His neighbors were all farmers or tradesmen. Always wondered what this occupation was, but there is a railroad that went to Buxton, ME, so I settled for many years thinking he worked on the railroad. He did, sort of.
In organizing my notes on this family, I noticed that all five children were born in Boston, MA. A new clue! I spent time at the library reviewing the City Directories for all the years between the children's births. I found my great-grandfather, and sometimes the entire family living in Boston, MA. In the last city directory, I was lucky enough to find an abbreviation for the company George worked for. I returned the books and talked to the librarian.
The microtext librarian was able to give me a verbal history that tied the company my great grandfather worked for to the start of the MBTA system. Over to another section of the library and I read about the transition in Boston from using horses to pull sleds of people around the city to the current MBTA system of subways and trains.
Yes, George Albert Anderson was a pioneer - one of the firrst conductors of the electric trolley cars in Boston, Massachusetts! I still have many questions about this - why in Boston, what qualifications, where did he train, etc. But I have a better idea about him and the twenty or so adult years he spent in New England. And, of course, even more questions about the life of my great-grandmother who suffered not only the loss of an infant, but the loss of her husband - first to a job a long distance from home and then to pneumonia at a young age - leaving her to raise four children! But that's another story...
Wow! He sure was a pioneer Seema. I like this kinda thing, especially because is happened up in my neck of he woods.
Hi Seema, Loved your discovery of the facts behind where your Grandfather worked.
I agree that must have been so hard on your Grandmother, raising her kiddos alone for the most part.
Thanks for sharing, Christine
Seema--I think you may have mentioned this story before, but seeing it written out helps me understand better what you were talking about, and also provides a picture of what "mass transit" was like in earlier years. And yes, the loss of a husband to a job far from home, and then his early death, while long ago, is still so real, is part of your story. Thanks for letting us see a peek into your story, and the challenges of fleshing out the story behind the research you've done.
I felt every step of your journey to discovery. Stories like yours are the ones that often go undiscovered. Lovely story,wonderful journey. You must feel wonderful!
Loved your description of your pioneer g.grandpa. You failed to tell us what the initials MBTA meant. Most interesting as my relatives are from the Boston area. My grandfather Crosby was a mechanic of the early automobiles.