Country Living Series

Friday, May 30, 2014

Eleven Skills Your Great-Grandparents Had That You Don’t

Reader Charlie sent me the latest blog post from Ancestry.com entitled 11 Skills Your Great-Grandparents Had That You Don’t.

It starts by saying, "Our parents and grandparents may shake their heads every time we grab our smart phones to get turn-by-turn directions or calculate the tip. But when it comes to life skills, our great-grandparents have us all beat. Here are some skills our great-grandparents had 90 years ago that most of us don’t."

These skills were:

1. Courting

2. Hunting, fishing, foraging

3. Butchering

4. Bartering

5. Haggling

6. Darning and mending


7. Corresponding by mail

8. Making lace

9. Lighting a fire without matches

10. Diapering with cloth


11. Writing with a fountain pen

Smart people, our great-grandparents.

26 comments:

  1. I have 6.5 out of 11 - how many do you have?

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  2. 11 out of 11...none of the eleven are difficult to do.

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    1. oh really would love to see you do all 11

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    2. have done 10/11. I have never butchered, but would like to learn. It's never too late.

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  3. Easily got all 12 :-)
    But wait...I'm old!!!!

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  4. Who cares about a fountain pen.

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    Replies
    1. not everyone is stuck to their computers all day like some people

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  5. I've got 6 out of 11 and can fish and forage but never hunted. Courting - dated for 5 years and been married for 47 - so probably could but won't, have no desire to replace the one I've got.

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  6. 10 out of 11 .... just never got the hang of the whole "lace" thing.....probably cause Im a guy and the only reason I can think of for finding myself handling lace would be in a effort to support my minimal courting skills.....

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  7. 10 of the 11. I leave the tatting to the wife.

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  8. I love fountain pens and prefer them to ballpoints. As for the rest, I can only do five of them.

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  9. 9 out of 11: No tatting skills for me, and while I can do some mending, I can't darn so that one is a 'miss' too. I'm in the over 50 crowd and grew up a small, family farm. Some of those skills were just part of living. I try to make it a habit to still 'court' my wife of 32 years, so I'm counting that one good. Been awhile for the fountain pen, but that was one my Dad made sure I could handle.

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  10. I guess I'm the loser tonight....I can only do 5.

    I've only ever really haggled once. I was the seller. The lady who haggled with me was so proud of herself, that she wanted a photo of us together. Her daughter took a picture of us shaking hands on the deal.

    Just Me

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  11. There is a reason we don't use fountain pens anymore... the rest are great!

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  12. Given that we are fairly sure my great grandparents wedding was a shotgun wedding, I think his skills in courting were a bit strong...

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  13. I have done all of them but lace making and I used to watch granny do that when I was a child. The skills you wright about were still in use in eastern Kentucky , on a large scale until about one gen. ago. ---Ray

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  14. 7 wow I am surprised but I was a curious kid , made my own pen from a goose feather and my own ink too , when I was about 8...in the search for invisible ink , led to a rabbit trail ! A store bought fountain pen was WAY more difficult to control , we were required in 7th grade to write a report with a fountain pen. 1970's.

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  15. I got all but 8, 10, and 11.

    The men in my family didn't do those, so I was never taught that.

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  16. 7 - sort of... maybe 6.5? I can hunt and fish but not forage...
    No fountain pen, butchering, lace making either :)

    Got a link to here from Free NC site. Looking forward to reading your site :)

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  17. I can do all but one and that is making lace. Never had a need to do it so I haven't. Obviously there are still those of us that practice these old skills and can do them well. They are not all a lost art!

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  18. 6.5 here too. Can I suggest a 12th? Building, repairing and maintaining 'life structures, machines, tools and equipment'.

    OK, I must admit that my pet peeve is that today's younger generations build nothing. Most are literally addicted to their gadgets. Pathetic sheep in an world increasing ruled by Wolves
    Montana Guy

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    1. Not all of us kids are as pathetic as you think. Sure, I love my gadgets as much as the next sheep, But I still make sure to keep the cast iron top waxed and polished on my table saw, The blades in my planer sharp, My hand tools well oiled and maintained (And put back in their place when not in use), My saw chain sharp, Etc....

      Do not for a minute think that we build "Nothing". Maybe you should look at the pathetic excuse for public schools we attend? You ARE aware that most schools no longer teach ANY trades? No wood shop, No metal shop, Not even basic auto maintenance? Today's "modern" parents offer little to no "life skills education" either.

      I may be young, But I was raised right. I eat what I kill, I grow and raise what I can, And if we cannot afford it, I build it, Work my ass off for the money to buy it, Or go without.

      MY pet peeve is that today's older generation did not raise us. They ignored us. They taught us nothing. They failed at passing on their knowledge of what it really means to be a man or woman with morals to us. Yet they still sit on their high horses and judge us.

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  19. My great grandmother was born 1850. My grandmother was born 1892.

    My grandmother never spoke of butchering, although they had chickens..in the city. They may have.

    Crochet, once called "air" lace, was popular those years and both were avid crocheters. Tatting is another form of lace.I can crochet and tat, but I prefer to knit. Bobbin lace is another form.

    My mother learned to use a dip pen in school. It was a messy affair. If my mother b. 1925 used these pens, it would be a good guess that both my great/grandmother did as well. Fountain pens are"classic" and nice, but some of the inks were, and are, fugitive. I have and use some fountain pens, but use graphite (pencil) for things such as journals. I stay away from plastic base (mechanical lead) and only use clay based graphite pencils. as they are archival grade. I also sharpen them by hand, another skill lost. I use a pocket knife rather than a single edged razor, but my great grandfather sharpened my mother's school pencil with a single edged razor.

    Not only did my great/grandmothers correspond by mail, but I remember it being delivered twice a day! Old Bobbsey Twins books mention it as well. They also knew the skill of writing a good thank you note (I write them) as well as a letter of condolence. Not purchased cards!

    The stories about my great grandmother was not about her darning. It was assumed that she darned. It was about her sewing skills. I was told that she could make a pattern almost exactly like and in the right size for my grandmother just by looking at a picture of a dress in the newspaper. They had a treadle sewing machine. When she was a teen she sewed, by hand as a seamstress during the War Between the States. I mend and sew, by hand or with a treadle.

    There were many more skills that they had that were not mentioned.

    I can do ten out of eleven. I can start a fire and keep it going, but I use matches.

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  20. I'm 11 for 11...pretty sure....been married so long I'd just have to claim latent skills wrt number one. lol

    A. McSp

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  21. 6.6 cant forage. but used straight pen and fountain pen befor a ballpoint. I didnt learn lace as my Mom didnt do it.

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  22. Thank goodness for some of those gadgets - YouTube is how I taught myself tatting. I frequently use an dipped pen because I am also a calligrapher. From the looks of this list (and because I love to fish and cook) I got this list. Beginning to think I was born way too late.

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