Just for Fun: What Occupations/Trades Have You Discovered Through Genealogy??

+5 votes
251 views
What are some old occupations that you discovered in your research that you did not know of before?

I feel silly saying I did not know what a "cooper" was before I started researching genealogy!

I had some ancestors that worked in ironworks and there were a few jobs they did that I had no idea what they were and had to look them up!

What about you?
in The Tree House by Kate McCollough G2G6 (7.0k points)

I have one that I have zero idea what it actually was.  

In an 1851 Scotland census, Stonehouse, Kincardineshire-born Peter Chapman (20), was enumerated as being employed in Stayslop Mannfacture*.
* This is how it was spelt. I have no idea what this occupation was. It has no relationship to anything similarly named in the 2020s.  (Obviously the "Mannfacture" should be "manufacture".)

Did you see the image?  Sounds like a poor transcription to me.

I saw the image.  I figured whoever wrote it had no idea, so just wrote down what they thought they heard.

14 Answers

+7 votes
Petrifactioner.
by Gillian Causier G2G6 Pilot (255k points)
+5 votes
I knew what it was, but I was surprised someone was listed as a "pettifogger" in a census.
by Roger Stong G2G6 Pilot (441k points)
Wow!  I thought that was an insult LOL.  I wonder if it was a judgment of the census taker of the man's law practice LOL.
+7 votes
I did have a pensioner, on one census he put down 'Retired'  10 years later on the census he put down 'Annoying the wife'
by Dave Welburn G2G6 Pilot (129k points)
For most of us, that is merely a hobby.
+7 votes
Two.  Flesher--the Scots term for butcher.  And yesterday on G2G: Morocco Worker--a tanner, but more specifically one who worker with fine leathers.
by David McNicol G2G6 Mach 1 (16.9k points)
Yes, it was that question about Morocco Workers that got me thinking of all the occupations I had learned about since doing genealogy!
+9 votes
In an 1867 city directory one of my ancestors is listed as a butter packer.
by Jeffrey Wall G2G6 (6.7k points)
+6 votes
lots of obvious ones and a few that needed lookup or had interesting names: cordonier, mule spinner, joiner.
by Doug McCallum G2G6 Pilot (435k points)
+7 votes
Fence watcher
by Darryl Rowles G2G6 Mach 1 (14.4k points)
+6 votes

A 13 year old winkler Frederick James Osborne

by Michelle Wilkes G2G6 Pilot (137k points)
that doesn't actually mention the occupation - Winkles in the UK are shell fish, his father was an oyster dredger, so I'm guessing the child was sent out to collect winkles from the beach to sell
Interesting, Michelle, thank you for the insight.
Even now, seaside towns still tend to have a stall on the seafront selling tubs or winkles, cockles, crab etc.
+5 votes
by Barry Smith G2G6 Pilot (230k points)
Yes!  Bloomer was one that I discovered also!  I couldn't recall it when I posted first. It was not at all what I expected it to be LOL I don't think Mark's link addresses teh word's application to our ancestors- Here's a better one LOL
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloomery
+7 votes
by Helen Ford G2G6 Pilot (372k points)
+7 votes
"Cordwainer"

Just yesterday I learnt this is a shoe maker, one who makes creates shoes from leather, as opposed to someone who just repairs shoes.
by Christine Pike G2G6 Mach 4 (43.7k points)
+5 votes
My 4th great grandfather's occupation was listed as butterfactor on the 1851 census. He was living in Langthorne.
by Miranda Bailey G2G6 (7.3k points)
+4 votes
One of my ancestral surnames is "Pottenger", which means "soup-maker" (by way of Old French "potager", which now has the meaning of "vegetable garden" in French).
by C Handy G2G6 Pilot (158k points)
+4 votes
Shoelaster, which involved working a machine that joined the shoe to the sole. It was invented by a Black man from Dutch Guyana and used by my Irish great-great grandfather in Jersey City, NJ. https://blackinventor.com/jan-matzeliger/
by Heather Quinlan G2G2 (2.3k points)

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