Where can you find definitions of terms used in the 1800s?

+1 vote
Curious if anyone could point me to a mid-1800s vintage dictionary, or some other source that explains the connotation of some of the terminology used then.  For example, I have census records in which one ancestor states his occupation as "Huckster" and another whose occupation is "Tinner."  I've looked up the words, but I'm not sure the modern definitions apply.  And in the 1870 census sheets, there's a column labeled "Whether deaf, dumb, blind, insane, or idiotic."  One family's grown child has the word "Idiot" entered in that column.  Is that likely to be an actual medical diagnosis, or just his mother's opinion?  I'm sure there are many more examples.  Thanks.
in Genealogy Help by Dennis Barton G2G6 Pilot (575k points)

1 Answer

+2 votes
Best answer

Hi Dennis,

Here's a listing of old occupation names to start you off...  http://rmhh.co.uk/occup/

A huckster was usually a street seller (mobile or with a small stall) often used specifically for a street beer seller.

Moron, idiot, etc are actually medical/psychological definitions not just terms of endearment :))

by Wombat Allen G2G6 Mach 2 (25.3k points)
selected by Keith Baker
I haven't figured out where any 'thank you' link is, but that's a very interesting web site, and I want to thank you for calling my attention to it.

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