NEW-ZEALAND-L ArchivesArchiver > NEW-ZEALAND > 2011-07 > 1311324160
From: "Nivard Ovington" <>
Subject: Re: [nz] sawers
Date: Fri, 22 Jul 2011 09:42:40 +0100
Hi again Amanda
Firstly there is no great reason you should not ask the question you did on the NZ list, but as has
been said already, to get an answer which is more likely to be applicable to your mans occupation
and situation as found in the UK census it would be better to ask it on a list covering that area
As we have seen there are various opinions on what a Sawer was or did but what your man did may
differ greatly in the local area he worked (and assuming you read the occupation correctly)
As its been suggested, the first thing to say is that a Carpenter is *not* a Sawyer and vice versa
A Sawyer cut the wood up , a Carpenter used the wood to construct things
Now to throw the proverbial spanner in the works :-)
>From the Oxford English Dictionary
Forms: Also 15 saer, sawar.
One who saws. Now rare; as a designation of employment superseded by sawyer n.
Forms: Also ME sawier, 15-16 sawyere, 16 sayeure
Etymology: Altered form of sawer n., with assimilation of the ending to the French suffix -ier.
Compare bowyer, clothier, lawyer....
>From a dictionary of old trades by Colin Waters
Person who saws stone blocks in a stone quarry, Sometimes erroneously used also in place of the term
(a worker who saws wood in a wood shed)
Wood worker involved in sawing wood
Another suggestion was that the enumerator misheard what the householder said, now its true that
some census information was collected verbally by the enumerator but in the UK the census was taken
by leaving a form with the householder which the enumerator then collected and transcribed onto the
pages we see today (the household forms were almost all destroyed afterwards) the vast majority of
information gathered was from the forms not verbally
So what remains to be seen is what your particular man and his neighbours did which may give further
clues, or have you found him in other census ?
If its the English or Welsh census I have full access, if its the census of Scotland I only have the
Either way I am happy to help if it may be useful to you
As you mention it, a Millwright was not a Miller, but one who worked on or manufactured the
machinery used in a Mill (of various types)
There are of course many different types of Mill, spinning would be a far cry from a wood mill
Nivard Ovington in Cornwall (UK)
Its definetly sawer as his 1814 marriage record also shows sawer. one of his witnesses was a
shepherd, the other a carter. Later one of his sons was a millwright and i am looking info records
regarding a spinning mill in Selkirk owned by two men of the same surname...
at the moment i am inclined to think he was a carpenter who worked in the mill or was one of the
owners of the mill.
now this is off list and i will be asking on the selkirk list but has anyone got a copy of the book
"Little Guide to Selkirk Mills" pub 2000.? pls contact me off list