Occupations have changed over the decades, not just in recent times but across the centuries, the need is no longer there for certain jobs to be done but rather people learn a new skill and follow that occupation.
We can look back 100 to 150 years and see many changes that have taken place as far as jobs. With the electronic age over the last 30 years the changes are faster and greater. Even the method a person performs their job has changed, such as a police officer, the electronic devices and resources needed are tremendous for them now.
So to look back on some of the antiquated jobs that our grandfathers or great grandparents held and made a living at gives us insight into their life and times. If you find an occupation of an ancestor and not sure what it was, do some research to learn about it.
Your ancestors of the mid-1800s may have produced daguerreotypes, those early forms of photos on polished silver, very difficult to make. Photography has really changed over the decades, so the occupation is there but new skills and equipment were needed.
The next position is a bit strange, that of a ‘knocker-up’, a person would shoot a pea at the window or tap on your bedroom window to get you up in the morning. It had to be requested and paid for, but yes that was done before there were alarm clocks.
Factories have taken over the position of ‘salaeratus makers’, those who produced baking soda.
Cotton-gin manufacturers no longer exist because the cotton-gin machine used in harvesting cotton is not used.
A bone-black maker produced a fine charcoal made by burning animal bones in closed containers. That charcoal was then used as a coloring pigment, and even in the refining of sugar.
A person who prepared feathers to be placed on hats and clothes was known as a feather dresser, again no longer needed.
Lime burner was a person who had to burn the raw limestone to produce lime used in agriculture. It was a hazardous job.
Here is a Rootsweb.Ancestry list of other older occupations, some still exist, some no longer are around.
Photos: A milkman on his route and Knocker-up waking up someone.< Return To Blog