Workday Wednesday: What’s a “berger”?

The occupation entry for the man on the first row just made me smile: it’s “berger.”


It means “shepherd.” It’s an occupation that largely hasn’t existed in the US, except in fairy tales. What does it mean for our Luxembourger ancestors? Simply put, they worked – usually on another’s land – caring for one kind of animal, sheep. They weren’t land owners (landownership was rare in this period, and land was expensive to purchase). They would have been considered semi-skilled tradesmen, a step above the journalier or day laborer…

and if they came to the US, they were probably listed as farmers.