UK and Ireland: Occupations
Full text of A Dictionary of Occupational Terms Based on the Classification of Occupations used in the Census of Population [for Great Britain], 1921 - "by far the most comprehensive dictionary of British occupations, with almost 30,000 terms".
Hurley, Beryl, (Ed.). The Book of Trades: Or Library of Useful Arts: Vol 1, Devizes, Wiltshire, Wiltshire Family History Society (1991) 63 pp. [ISBN 0951225340]
[FFHS GENFair: "Reproduction of 'job descriptions' giving fascinating descriptions of the many labour- intensive occupations and crafts of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Taken from the original 1811 edition, with numerous hand-engraved illustrations. This volume looks at the work of Apothecaries, Bakers, Basket Makers, Bricklayers, Carpenters, Coach Makers, Comb Makers, Coopers, Curriers, Dyers, Feather Workers, Gardeners, Gold Beaters, Hair Dressers, Hat Makers, Jewellers, Lace Makers, Mariners, Milliners, Plumbers, Potters, Sawyers, Shipwrights, Smiths, Spinners, Stone Masons, Straw Hat Makers, Soap Boilers, Tallow Chandlers, Type Founders, Watermen, and Wool Combers"]
Hurley, Beryl, (Ed.). The Book of Trades: Or Library of Useful Arts: Vol 2, Devizes, Wiltshire, Wiltshire Family History Society (1992) 63 pp. [ISBN 0951225359]
[FFHS GENFair: "Reproduction of 'job descriptions' giving fascinating descriptions of the many labour- intensive occupations and crafts of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Taken from the original 1811 edition, with numerous hand-engraved illustrations. This volume covers Bookbinders, Braziers, Brewers, Brick Makers, Brush Makers, Button Makers, Cabinet Makers, Calico-Printers, Carpet Weavers, Copper-Plate Printers, Cork Cutters, Cutters, Engravers, Glass Blowers, Iron Founders, Ladies' Dress Makers, Merchants, Needle Makers, Painters, Paper Makers, Paviours, Pin Makers, Printers, Rope Makers, Saddlers, Shoe Makers, Statuaries, Stocking Weavers, Tailors, Tin-Plate Workers, Trunk Makers, Turners, Watch Makers, Weavers, Wheelwrights, and Wire Drawers."]
Hurley, Beryl, (Ed.). The Book of Trades: Or Library of Useful Arts: Vol 3, Devizes, Wiltshire, Wiltshire Family History Society (1994) 52 pp. [ISBN 1898714029]
[FFHS GENFair: "Reproduction of 'job descriptions' giving fascinating descriptions of the many labour- intensive occupations and crafts of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Taken from the 1818 edition, with numerous hand-engraved illustrations. This volume looks at Attorneys, Bleachers, Booksellers, Chemists & Druggists, Confectioners, Distillers, Gun Makers, Linen Drapers, Looking-Glass Makers, Machinists, Musical Instrument Makers, Opticians, Pewterers and Tanners."]
Raymond, Stuart A. Occupational sources for genealogists: a bibliography, Birmingham, Federation of Family History Societies (1996) 81 pp. [ISBN: 1860060366]
[FFHS GENFair: "Were your English ancestors railwaymen or tradesmen, lawyers or tax inspectors? Or perhaps you have pipemakers or policemen amongst your forebears? It is probable that at least some members of your family are listed somewhere by the occupation they pursued, and it is well worth knowing where such information is to be found. There are many published sources of occupational information, which are listed in the second, greatly expanded, edition of this extensive guide to published works."]
Shepheard, Wayne. The History of Old Occupations. Family Tree Magazine (March 2019) pp.12-19. "[Investigation of] the history of occupations, key sources, and the cultural and climatic background against which the times played out . . ."
Waters, Colin and Titford, John. A Dictionary of Old Trades, Titles and Occupations, Countryside Books (2002) 302 pp. [ISBN 1 85306 601 X] ["This excellent reference book explains the meaning of nearly 4,000 terms and contains over 70 illustrations."]
- The Black Sheep Index to people named in newspaper articles and journals organsed under various headings, including a number of occupations - copies of the original reports are available for purchase (archived copy).
- John Hitchcocks's Glossary of Ranks, Professions, Occupations & Trades (archived copy).
- Obsolete Occupations from Olive Tree Genealogy
- Old Occupations from the USGenWeb Project
- Old Occupation Names from Rodney Hall
- Occupations Glossary from ScotlandsPeople
- Old English Census Occupations from the World Through The Lens website (archived copy).
- Jane Hewitt's Dictionary of Old Occupations
- Colin Mackie's Directories - of British Diplomats, British Civil Servants (1900-), British Armed Forces (1860-), Composers, and U.S. Senators (1863-).
- The ABCs of Old Time Occupations by Jenny Ashcraft.
- Obituaries and other biographical notes/profiles - from ICAEW Library and Information Service .
Armstrong, A. Farmworkers: A Social and Economic History 1770-1980, Batsford (1988).
Fussell, G.E and Fussell, K.R. The English Countrywoman: From Tudor Times to the Victorian Age, Blomsbury Books (1985).
Hammond, J.L. and Hammond, Barbara. The Village Labourer, 1760-1832, Sutton Publishing (1987) 432 pp. [ISBN: 0862993458]
[John Woodgate: "The Village Labourer focuses specifically on the life of the poor in rural districts during the period 1760 - 1832. It illustrates in detail what was happening to this section of the working classes under a government in which they had no share. Opening with a chapter describing the concentration of power, the authors go on to explain the common-field system and village class structure which set the scence for what must be considered the most important social and economic event of the periof - enclosure. Subsequent chapters examine its inception, implementation and effects. the book concludes with a picture of the village labourer's plight in 1795, together with a discussion of the remedies which were proposed but not adopted. Desite the importance which is placed on enclosure, there is a full consideration of other contributory factors, making this a valuable introduction to an understanding of the lives and fortunes of a class that had no voice in its own destiny."]
Waller, Ian. My Ancestor was an Agricultural Labourer, Society of Genealogists (2010). [ISBN: 9781903462980]
- Anyone with ancestors involved in farming may find the British Agricultural History Society of interest.
- The Mills Archive provides a searchable database of more than 30,000 names of millers, millwrights and associated trades, assembled by volunteers from original data.
- The Museum of English Rural Life's online catalogue of their extensive collections.
- The Village Labourer 1760-1832 (archived copy), by J.L. and Barbara Hammond.
- National Archives Leaflet: Looking for records of an apprentice or master.
- Though aimed principally at providing art and antique auction data, The Invaluable Group's Artists Database (archived copy) provides a searchable index to information, in some cases extensive, about "500,000 international artists". (And the facility for searching on objects can be used to look for placename information.)
- History of Blacksmithing from Oldfield Forge, Hereford (archived copy).
- The Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths.
- Ann Spiro's Blacksmiths Index
- Society of Brushmakers' Descendants - "a Historical Society/Family History Society that specialises in the brush/broom making trades and those who have worked therein for the past few hundred years."
- Brushmakers Union Archives at the Working Class Movement Library.
- Family History Checklist, from the London Canal Museum.
- Waterways History by Jim Shead.
- Canal and River Trust Archive - "Explore over 200 years of waterways history! "
- Railway & Canal Historical Society - web-site.
P. Towey. My Ancestor was an Anglican Clergyman. Society of Genealogists (2006).
- The Clergy of The Church of England database - "Its objective is to create a relational database documenting the careers of all Church of England clergymen between 1540 and 1835."
- Crockford's Clerical Directory - "first published in 1858, contains biographies of over 25,000 Anglican clergy in the UK, details of English, Welsh and Irish benefices and churches and much more. This online version carries information that goes right back to 1968." (Paid subscription required.)
- SOAS - sources for missionary and church archives.
- Steve Pickthall's Parish Clerk Index, derived initially mainly from the book "The Parish Clerk", by PH Ditchfield (Metheun, London, 1907).
Frank, M. and Brownstone, David M. Clothiers (A Volume in the Work Throughout History Series), Facts on File Publications (1987). [ISBN 0-8160-1442-6] [Covers: Cloth Finishers, Fiber Workers, Hatters, Milliners, Shoemakers & Other Leatherworkers, Spinners, Tailors & Dressmakers and Weavers]
- Database of Court Officers (1660-1837).
We all have the occasional "black-sheep" in our families. This publication may help us to document their careers:-
D.T. Hawkins. Criminal Ancestors: A Guide to Historical Crime Records in England and Wales. Stroud, Alan Sutton, 1992, 458 pp. ISBN 0 86299 817 4.
- Smuggler's Britain - extensive information about smuglers and their haunts.
- National Archives Leaflet: The Coastguard
- National Archives Leaflet: Looking for records of a Customs officer
- National Archives Leaflet: CExcise and Inland Revenue Officers
- H.M. Coastguards - A brief history, based on "Coastguard! An Official History Of HM Coastguard" by William Webb.
- British Coastguards 1841-1901 - a detailed index to coastguards found mainly in census records. This material has been provided by Stan Waight and his team of contributors.
- British Coastguard Records - from Mariners-L.
- HM Customs & Excise - its History, Officers and their Work - on the (archived) HM Waterguard site.
- The General Dental Council hold registration records which show the original application, list of addresses, correspondence, etc going back to the compulsory registration in the 1920s.
Wallis, P.J., Wallis, R.V., Whittet, T.D. and Burnby, J.G.L. Eighteenth Century Medics (subscriptions, licences, apprencticeships), Newcastle upon Tyne, Project for Historical Biobibliography (1988).
[An alphabetical index of individuals, compiled from a number of sources, including National Archives apprenticeship records, subscriptions to the publication of medical treatises, alumni of UK medical schools for the 18thC and some membership lists of the medical Royal Colleges.]
- Was Your Ancestor a Doctor? (archived copy) is a an article on the subject written by Alex Glendinning.
- National Archives Leaflets: Looking for records of doctors and nurses, and Military Nursing.
- Researching Your Medical Ancestors from the Royal College of General Practitioners.
- The Royal College of Physicians provide the Munk's Roll which is a near-complete online index to the obituaries of past fellows from 1518 to the present (and licentiates from 1518 to 1825)
- Directory of medical licences issued by the Archbishop of Canterbury 1535-1775 from the Holdings of Lambeth Palace Library.
- Peter Davis' website includes a list of Naval Surgeons, Assistant Surgeons, Physicians and Dispensers in 1840.
- Google Books have full text of the London Medical Directory (a commercial, and therefore voluntary. register) for 1846 and other years which include some doctors outside London.
- Ancestry provides subscription access to UK Medical Register (a compulsory register published by the General Medical Council) 1859-1959 listing the doctors who were licenced to practice in the UK, with each doctor’s residence, qualification, and date of registration.
- The archive of the British Medical Journal allows free full text search of articles since 1840 for those who may have written, or been mentioned in, their articles.
- Trade directories can provide some information (including for doctors in private practice)
- The records of the Steam Engine Maker's Society are a unique source, providing detailed information about many aspects of individual lives from 1835 to the First World War; details concerning unemployment, sickness, aging and migration which are available from no other source.
Fowler, Simon. Researching Brewery and Publican Ancestors, Birmingham, Federation of Family History Societ es (2003) 48 pp.
[FFHS GENFair: "This booklet is an attempt to help people who discover that they have innkeepers or brewers in their family. The first section is a brief survey about the changing nature of brewing, the public and the people who worked there. The second part offers advice about the records and where you can find them. There is also a glossary of terms you may come across in the course of your research, a short bibliography and list of relevant web sites."]
Gibson, Jeremy. Victualler's Licenses - Records for Family and Local Historians, Federation of Family History Societie (2009) 64pp., [ISBN-13: 978-1906280147]
- Simon Fowler's Pub History resource guide.
- Pub History Society
- UK Pub History and Street Directory
- The Pubs Galore website contains some useful lists of inns, hotels and public houses.
- Lost Pubs Project is a volunteer contributed list of closed pubs.
- Barmaids and Skinkers (archived copy) - details the various jobs found in public houses, coaching inns and the brewery trade over the centuries, by Elaine Saunders.
- Trade directories can provide some information about pub licensees through the years.
- Searchable database of Admissions to the Inner Temple (1547-1940).
- The website of the British Association of Paper Historians.
- The Society of Brushmakers' Descendants is a historical/family history society devoted to brushmaking and brushmakers.
- Bryan Mawer's Sugar Refiners and Sugarbakers Database covers mainly the United Kingdom from the 16th to 20th centuries.
- Websters' Scientific Instrument Makers Database compiled by Roderick S. and Marjorie K. Webster and made available online by the Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
- Stan Cook's Gunmakers & Allied Trades Index
Watts, Christopher and Watts, Michael. My Ancestor was a Merchant Seaman, London, Society of Genealogists (2004) 84 pp. [ISBN 1-903462-51-7]
["The new and heavily revised edition is some two thirds bigger than the first edition and is sure to become one of the 'bibles' for family historians wanting to research ancient mariners. Packed full of places to search and the records that can be found in such record offices and archives, full listings of the same, their class and piece numbers, what to look for and where to find little known records."]
- National Archives Leaflet: Royal Naval Dockyards
- Association of Lighthouse Keepers - website
- Bob Sanders' Mariners Research Links
- The Historical Diving Society - "aiming to protect and preserve our diving heritage".
- National Archives' Hospital Records database
- Dan Byrnes' Merchants and Bankers From before 1400 to 2001 (archived copy) provides genealogical and historical information about merchants and traders from the times of the Crusaders to the present day.
- The Mills Archive has large databases on mills, and on the people associated with them.
Tonks, David. My Ancestor Was a Coalminer, Society of Genealogists Enterprises Ltd (2003) 136 pp. [ISBN: 1903462711]
["This book addresses documentary evidence to be found on miners and mining and where to go for further research. A must-have book for anyone researching an ancestor who was a coalminer in Great Britiain."]
- Ian Winstanley's Coal Mines History Resource Centre (archived copy).
- British Mining Database - a general portal site for mining.
- Mining Index - of miners killed or injured c.1850-1920 (archived copy).
- SOAS - sources for missionary and church archives.
- The National Pipe Organ Register has a Directory of Organ Buildres which "aims to list every organ builder who ever worked in the British Isles, from the earliest times to the middle of the twentieth century". This Directory is housed in the University of Birmingham Cadbury Research Library.
- National Archives Leaflets: Looking for records of doctors and nurses, and Military Nursing.
- Royal College of Nursing Archives - "A unique collection of material on British nurses and nursing" - fully text searchable.
- Nursing registers held at the Royal College of Nursing on Ancestry.co.uk (charges apply). (Before the General Nursing Council was established in 1919 the registers were kept independently by individual hospitals and this collection brings many of those registers together, along with the central registers which were subsequently compiled.)
- Nursing History and Midwifery History - from nurses.info (archived copies).
Hudson, Bryony. Tracing People and Premises in Pharmacy, Genealogists' Magazine, vol. 28, no. 6, (2005) pp.242-246.
- Finding Photographers is a worldwide index of the books and websites that list photographers and when they worked.
- An Index of UK photographers up to c1950 compiled by Rosemary and Stan Rodliffe.
- Rosemary and Stad Rodliffe's Index of Victorian, Edwardian and early Twentieth Century UK Photographers.
- Photographers of Great Britain & Ireland 1840-1940 - "the world's largest collection of British and Irish carte de visite photographs and trade directories".
Hollick, Helen. Pirates: Truth and Tales. Amberley Publishing (2017) 328pp. [ISBN-13: 978-1445652153].
Sherman, Antony. My Ancestor was a Policeman, London, Society of Genealogists (2000) 44 pp. [ISBN: 1903462002] ["This work comprises a short history of the police in Britain, the types of record available and a comprehensive directory of the sources of British police force records."]
Stallion, Martin and David S Wall. The British Police: Police Forces and Chief Officers 1829 – 2000. Police History Society (1999) 262pp. [ISBN 0-9512538-4-0].
- National Archives Leaflet Police
- Police Index - compiled from Newspaper reports and others of court cases, inquests etc. (archived copy),
- Police history resources provided by Louis R. Mills.
- Shanghai Municipal Police - by R.A. Bickers.
- British Transport Police History Group - "exists to promote the history of the British Transport Police and to preserve the historical records and artefacts of all its constituent forces wherever railway, dock and canal police forces were operational'.
- The The British Postal Musem and Archive (formerly Post Office Archives and Records Services) holds the records of the British Post Office from the 17th century to the present day.
- Example set of names extracted from Post Office Files, by Ted Wildy.
- Trade directories can provide some information about post masters and mistresses through the years
Richards, Tom. Was Your Grandfather a Railwayman? (4th ed.), Birmingham, Federation of Family History Societies (2002) 132 pp. [ISBN: 1860061613] - [FFHS GENFair: "This expanded edition of the guide includes a comprehensive listing of records and documents for railway companies in Great Britain and overseas, showing what information they contain and where they can be found. There is also a detailled introduction to the railways and the records they generated, a guide to ordering records at the Public Record Office, and details of railway memorials in the UK and Ireland."]
- Hardy, Frank. My Ancestor was a Railway Worker. Society of Genealogists Enterprises Ltd (2009), 110pp., [ISBN 9781907199028]
- Drummond, Di. Tracing Your Railway Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians. Pen & Sword (2010) 288pp. [ISBN-13 : 978-1844158645]
- Industry: the Industrial Revolution and the Railway System presents a wide variety of information on the 19th century railway system.
- Railway Index - The names of railwaymen of all classes and companies (archived copy).
- Railway & Canal Historical Society - web-site.
- Railway work, life and death - "details of railway worker accidents investigated by the state (1911-15) & applications to the Great Eastern Railway Benevolent Fund (1913-23), for assistance after an accident".
- The Railway Work, Life and Death Project - a collaboration between the University of Portsmouth, the National Railway Museum, and the Modern Records Centre at the University of Warwick about railway worker accidents in Britain and Ireland from the late 1880s to 1939.
Symes, Ruth A. A Governess in the Family, Family Tree Magazine, vol. 23, no. 6, (2007) pp.18-22.
The Georgian Papers Online project is a fascinating insight into the Royal Household in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and provides access to descriptions and digital images of letters, diaries, account books and household records and receipts. And via Findmypast you can search more than 386,000 employment records, which include staff at royal residences across the UK between 1526 and 1924. The database is drawn from a number of different types of document, but records usually include dates of employment, salary and career history.
- Legacies of British Slave-Ownership - a database containing the identity of all slave-owners in the British Caribbean at the time slavery ended.
- Stonemasons & Quarrymen - information provided by the Modern Records Centre, Warwick University Library. (They have put online the first part of an index to the obituaries of stonemasons included in the Fortnightly Returns of the Operative Society of Masons, Quarrymen and Allied Trades of England and Wales. This currently (as of Aug 2010) covers 1836-1875.)
- Sugar Refiners & Sugarbakers - "a database of some of those involved in the cane sugar refining industry, mainly in the UK, 16-20C" compiled by Bryan Mawer.
- Dave Jassie's THEATRE-UK pages are dedicated to helping those researching ancestors who were actors, music hall or circus performers.
- Miles Templeton's boxinghistory.org.uk provides lists of names and photographs of boxers, details of venues and historical articles.
- The Galloper Magazine
- Circus Historical Society website.
- University of Bristol Theatre Collection - has a catague of over 100,000 items.
- Association of Performing Arts Collections - "the Subject Specialist Network of performing arts collections in the UK and Ireland".
- Advice on locating music hall and variety artists - from Hiss & Boo.
- The Search for Theatre AncestoRs (STAR) website - based on the National Trusts's archive of Ellen Terry and Edith Craig papers.
- Trade Union Archives at the Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick, with a list of twenty-four occupations for which genealogical guides are available.
- Mark Crail's Trade Union Ancestors website.
- Trades Union Congress Library Collections at London Metropolitan University.
- The Trade Union Congress's listing of Links to Other Resources identifies numerous trade union-related archives and other resources.
- The National Fairground Archive - "a unique collection of photographic, printed, manuscript and audiovisual material".
- British Fairground Ancestors - Showmen, Circus and Fairground Travellers
- Gary Stanley's Romani website - "a heritage project dedicated to finding, tracking and recording any mention of Romany Gypsy families and individuals between the years 1500-1900, in the United Kingdom & United States of America".
- The Romany and Traveller Family History Society website.