Welcome, fellow genealogists! My blog will teach you about U.S. land records and United Kingdom research. My family has roots in Niagara County, New York; Norfolk, England; and northeast Germany.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wisdom Wednesday: Tracing Ancestors by Occupation, Part I

Genealogists quickly find that British research has distinct differences from U.S. research. One example is that the paid websites for UK research are usually ‘pay per view’ versus a subscription. Another is an emphasis on searching for an ancestor using occupational records.

What resources are available about jobs and trades? Since 1841, the British Census has asked about occupation so find your ancestor in all the censuses you can. If you do not understand the term used for his occupation or you are not sure what that job entailed, you can google it or consult one of these references:

Culling, Joyce. An Introduction to Occupations: A Preliminary List 2nd Edition. Federation of     Family History Societies, 1999. ISBN 9781860061035
Stuart, Raymond. Trades and Professions: The Family Historian’s Guide. Family History Partnership, 2011. ISBN 9781906280253

Waters, Colin. A Dictionary of Old Trades, Titles and Occupations. Countryside Books, ISBN 9781853066016

The first two are sold at the National Archives Online Bookshop, but the high cost of postage may be prohibitive. (www.nationalarchives.gov.uk)  Try www.amazon.com instead.

The Society of Genealogists publishes a series of books, each title beginning with the phrase, “My Ancestor was a ___________” A private company, Pen and Sword Books, have a series  whose title all begin with “Tracing Your _______Ancestors.” I would consult either the National Archives or Amazon as listed above or directly at www.sog.org.uk or www.pen-and-sword.co.uk.

Here are examples from both series:
            “My Ancestors Were Watermen”
            “My Ancestor Was a Merchant Seaman”
            “Tracing Your Railway Ancestors”
You will probably wonder whether your ancestor was the only person in his trade in the parish where he lived. You can consult historical directories of the era which are the equivalent of a U.S. city directory.  Read more about them in my blog post on 9 Jan 2013. The website www.historicaldirectores.org  is changing and was having technical difficulties in mid-November, as I write this post. Generally, the entry for the parish describes it and lists the gentry, professionals and tradesmen living there.

 Next post:
            Finding and using apprenticeship records
            The National Archives – National Register of Archives

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