Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Knowing an individuals occupation can help follow a family through the censuses as well as through a country. Individuals may have the same names and live in the same areas, however, different occupations can help to assure the correct ancestral family is researched.

As one does research, various strangely named occupations are often listed causing one to wonder what their ancestor did for a living. The working world of today is not much of a reflection on the working world during the times of your ancestors. Many jobs they held have now been either eliminated or taken over by a machine. This is often termed 'progress', however, to the one who lost their job it was devasting and often part of a long list of reasons to emigrate to another country.

Occupations varied from country to country and so one may need to have a glossary of terms from different countries. "Hall Genealogy Website: Old Occupation Names" has a good collection of old terms. While some terms may still exist today, most do not. Some examples include a "Danter" which is a 'female overseer in silk winding room' or a 'Palister' which was a 'Park keeper'.

Another good list is provided by the "World Through the Lens" which covers old English occupations.There are some great resource pages on occupations in the FamilySearch Research Wiki. One can view the list by simply going to the Research Wiki and typing in "occupations', the results will be England Occupations, Wales Occupations, Jewish Occupatins and many others.

If you need a different country one just needs to use their search engine to type in "Old occupations of (name of place) and the results should take you to a website that has the needed information.

As a closing note, many times trades and tendencies are generational and it is not uncommon to discover that an occupation held by an ancestor is something a descendant may have an inclination to do. For instance, if my ancestors were farmers I may enjoy gardening, if my grandfather worked on the railroad, I may enjoy trains, etc.

Remember, a greater understanding of the actions of one's ancestors developes as a researcher digs and discovers more information about their lives during their time period.

Comments and Suggestions are always welcomed!

Building Bridges for All Generations!

Claire (*)
Timeless Genealogies
We're Your Family is "No. 1"



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