caterogy homemakers appears totally redundant, category pjt pls advise

+8 votes
hi, have been finding profiles with the ''Category: Homemaker'' on them repeatedly, this category appears totally redundant and useless, any stay-at-home woman for centuries could be qualified with that appellation.  Categorization pjt, can you take a look please?  Someone is misusing categories repeatedly like this in my opinion.  Well-meaning but not understanding how categories are structured.
in Policy and Style by Danielle Liard G2G6 Pilot (306k points)
Well it's better than housewife and lets not pretend it wasn't an occupation. Need not be a stay-at-home mum to be a homemaker.
as a category it would be totally useless in my opinion, how many millions of people would it apply to?
Any of the categories "could" have millions added, but most have a couple of hundred. Indeed, some categories are quite large and probably should be divided.
And speaking of ‘useless’ categories, while cleaning up the Wanted Categories as part of the Categorization Project, I’ve run across ‘Americans’, ‘Democrats’, ‘Native Americans’, ‘Immigrants’, and ‘1940 Census’ as categories people have created—all much too large to be useful.

BTW, the Wanted Categories (all those red ones on profiles) have been vastly cleared up—from over 1600 to less than 1000 today!  Big congratulations the the Categorization Project!
That's awesome, Robert, and thanks!
nice work Robert.
Well, I’ve done some, thanks, but there are several people working to clear out those red categories.  Seems like every time I look, someone has created a couple more red categories—it’s neverending.
That's the truth!
Unfortunately it's rare to find information about special skills  women homemakers of years past developed, and which their families benefitted from. Who among our women ancestors  were undeclared seamstresses? Nurses? Gardeners? Mid-wives? Cooks? Painters? Carpenters?
well, the midwives here had to be ''certified'' before they could do it as a vocation or avocation.  ''Of good character'' and all that jazz.  Most of those other activities fall under ''housework'' or just ordinary things to do.  Other than midwife, I've done all of them myself, but I still only note retired accountant as profession.
Look at all the skills you have, Danielle !A ll the more reason to say that the word 'homemaker' is inadequate. My niece had a Shawnee great grandmother who knew everything about medicinal plants.  That's important knowledge.  But no diploma or recognition. I look hard for any indication as to what my women ancestors did. But usually all I can do is count how many children they had and how many times  they had to move house, then guess how they managed. I feel lucky if I find a maiden  name or a middle name...
we're lucky here in that a French king made an ordinance around 1620 or so that parish priests were to record parentage on baptisms etc, and the ordinance was fairly well enforced here, so records do show a lot more data than the later protestant marriage records do.  Those mostly only show name of spouses and witnesses.

4 Answers

+7 votes
Best answer
I'll weigh in as a "conservative voice" regarding Categorization, conservative in the sense of "let's not overdo categorization."  

I'd disagree with Natalie -- I don't think a category that huge numbers of people fit into helps any of the objectives there.  Even subcategorizing it into smaller groups -- homemakers in Aberdeen, Scotland, or homemakers in Delhi, India doesn't really provide a more useful category than simply people in Aberdeen Scotland or Delhi, India.  

Having too many categories on a profile turns all the categories into spam and the profile itself into junk.  Categories should be used when it is important to group people;  we have other ways to recognize people.

Furthermore, categories should only reflect sourced facts.  Jane Smith may have been a married woman with 8 children in 1783 -- but do we know she was a homemaker?  Is there a journal that documented what she did in her home or are we simply making assumptions?  Perhaps she hated her husband and children, did absolutely nothing of value to them and forced him to hire someone to take care of the family.  But we don't know that.  

If Homemaker is a legitimate category, how about Category:  Women with Children?  How about a Category:  Men with Children?  Do we know that the men involved were NOT homemakers?  Our assumptions may be valid 99% of the time -- but if we don't have a source it shouldn't be in the biography OR the datafield OR a cattegory!
by Jack Day G2G6 Pilot (338k points)
selected by Danielle Liard
And I would add, it's time to change the category FAQ!
I will agree with Jack - some, and too many cat's spoil the Profile, overworked, that they can become the Biography, rather than the bio doing its work as a narrative of the profile - cheers.
I agree that we shouldn't assume that a married woman, even one with a horde of children, necessarily considered herself a "Homemaker". Still, I happen to have worked on a number of profiles last night where either a census record or a death certificate listed a woman's occupation as "Homemaker", "Housewife", or some similar term.

(Although, that said, I personally prefer not to add an occupation category to anybody's profile unless they are listed with the same occupation in at least two sources: census records, marriage records, death certificates, etc.)
+8 votes
It's a very large category, as is farmers, but I don't believe that renders it "useless."

According to category FAQ:

What is the purpose of categories?
By grouping profiles of people that share something in common, categories can:

help members organize ongoing research,
help members with common interests find each other,
help members with a special interest find profiles they may want to investigate or collaborate on, and
help historians or genealogists researching a particular topic or location.

I don't see how the occupation of "homemaker" is outside this description.
by Natalie Trott G2G6 Pilot (699k points)
It is just too broad, for example, the name Mary Smith could recur there countless times, telling it apart from other namesakes would be tedious, to say the least.  And it certainly does nothing for any of the purposes listed above.  Mega-millions would fit in the category.  A category to be useful has to not be too large.  If there were subcategories by location, it would start becoming a bit more useful. But then, I still think it is rather parochial in itself.  Maybe it's the women's libber in me.  ;)

Oh, and the category farmers also should be subdivided by location, else it is this big concatenation of names from everywhere on the planet.
It is definitely too broad and would need a breaking down, which is what happened with farmers.

Being a homemaker was an important task, especially in years gone by when males were typically the breadwinners. Families would have floundered, and as you can see from genealogy work, when a husband lost his wife, there was often another woman in the home before the next census occured (I'm speaking from US research here) or the children were sent off to be raised by relatives. "Homemaker" wives of farmers were very busy women, often raising the children and also working on farm chores.

The word "homemaker" is becoming obsolete, now being called "stay at home moms," but the job is real.

As a categorist, I try to refrain from personal judgement. I mean, I found "murderers" as an occupation rather troubling, but it's there anyway, under "Criminals" as an occupation.
lol, criminals and murderers fall under black sheep project, maybe it should be moved out of the higher category occupation.  Unless a person was a serial killer, it wasn't really an ''occupation''.  :D Professional thieves and forgers however would be an ''occupation''.  That's about the only criminal activity that could go under there in my view.

Maybe it's the cultural bias also, the very concept of ''homemaker'' appears to be mainly English.  Closest term in French is ''ménagère'', but that can also be applied to cleaning women, known as ''femmes de ménage'' also, so not an exact fit.  And ''stay at home moms'' is another one, the closest to that in French is ''femme au foyer'' (woman at home).

All that said, I am brought to question whether there needs to exist such a category at all.  It is certainly not distinctive as an occupation, so having it would not be useful for any research that I can see.  Other occupations that women through the ages entered into were as nuns, teachers, nurses, servants....  Those are more distinct.

Farmers also should be looked at again, haven't examined it recently but there should be sub-categories, like homesteaders, plowmen ....  Many of the first colonists had more than one occupation, they had a primary one on arrival, like for example cooper, but got land and created a homestead, while still engaging in their first occupation.
There is a farming occupations category, which includes such occupations as cattle dealers, beekeepers, fruit growers, etc.

The farmers category exists, perhaps, to include all of those hardworking "general farmers" like my great-grandfathers. They dabbled in a little bit of everything, raising small numbers of chickens and planting enough crops to support a family in rural Indiana or Ohio.

And I've decided I'll add [[Category: 'Ménagère]] to my profile just because it sounds better than SAHM. tee hee. Yes, I've been "staying at home" for 35 years and I like it that way and have been fortunate enough to do so. :-)

And I agree with your assessment of the criminals. It's only an "occupation" if it's a continuing endeavor. Although, hitmen for organized crime could be included as well.

IMO, criminals should be left out of occupational categories and left to crime, black sheep, historical figures, or whatever, but it's not my call and we're a collaborative site.
oh please, don't create that category!  Nowadays it has derogatory connotations also.  lol.  Do we need categories for everything that was ever engaged in by a person?  We'd need categories for the 2 oldest professions also, those being whores (temple or otherwise) and shamans/witch doctors, however you want to call them.  There comes a point where categories get created that are just too unspecific and general, and not very useful for any research purposes.
Danielle, I was just joking!!
so was I.  :D
+4 votes

Actually, it should be [[Category: Homemakers]], because occupation names should be plural.

by Greg Slade G2G6 Pilot (368k points)
It is the category name, Greg, as it exists. There are 373 members of the category.
+2 votes

 - Homemaker Danielle Liard - -  ? my  question would be ? are you finding them because they are a "Census" answer to an occupation ? , or are they from a gedcom up load from another site - and so on - and are they from a particular country/state, and range of years, as in 1800's - -

The 'problem' is similar to the use of the prefix field - ? - for - Mr - Private - Mrs - Sargent , and so on - there are too many of them - - -

I feel the "WikiTree" answer is best - describe it in the Bio, if it makes sense there - - Mary Smith was a caring homemaker and wife - - -

cheers - ja


by John Andrewartha G2G6 Mach 5 (59.9k points)
no John, categories don't come with gedcoms, somebody has been entering these manually, and the profiles that brought this to my attention are French-Canadian, so even the language is wrong.

this profile from ancestry, is my example = - Macpherson-51 created 17 Sep 2011 This page has been accessed 202 times.


This biography is a rough draft. It was auto-generated by a GEDCOM import and needs to be edited.


Occupation: Wood Sawyer[1]

User ID

User ID: D8D7A2EE5E13433D8522F560C1DC75D51312

occupation description in Gedcoms doesn't link to a [[category:xyz]] that I know of, so that's not it.

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