Occupations by Another Name

Some of the jobs and occupations our ancestors held during their lifetime no longer exist. Many however, still do exist but are now known by another name.

So to help you figure out what your ancestor may have done as an occupation, especially when you find such a listing on a census record, a city directory, their death certificate or in a document held by the family, here is a listing from USGenWeb. It is not the most complete listing but pretty good to learn more about an occupation.

If you come across a name and see it on the list and still can’t quite figure out what it is, do a Google search for the term and see what is found. 

Here is such an example: ‘Faulkner’ occupation, now known as ‘Falconer’ This originally was an English occupational name for someone who kept and trained falcons (a common feudal service). Falconry was a tremendously popular sport among the aristocracy in medieval Europe, and most great houses had their falconers – a person who trained the falcon birds. This is not an occupation in use too much today.

Here is the occupation we might find unusual to refer to as a person’s livelihood. A person was referred to as a ‘Scribler’. This means a minor or worthless author.

Now you may have had a great grandmother who did other people’s laundry, her occupation name years ago might have been ‘lavender’.

There might have been a great uncle who was a ‘Colporteur ‘. Well, he sold books.

You may have come across the occupation of ‘joiner’ or ‘joyner’. That person was a carpenter.

May sure as you gather information on the family history you do search for their occupation, it can be fascinating. Check the list.

Photos: Laundry woman; falconer with falcons; bookseller and Chiffonnier or wigmaker.

Related FamilyTree Blogs:

Abbreviations of Occupations

Slang Terms of Vintage Occupations

Names of Early Occupations


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