Biography Builders Jan/Feb 2018. Persons with a name that's a profession

+13 votes

This month's theme is to write biographies for people whose names are also a profession or occupation. Eg. Smith, Bishop, Cook, Miller. You can use given name, or surname, or married surname. Challenge runs from now through Feb 15.

Biography Builders Goal: To make profiles as complete as possible with well-written biographies and sources. You should research as much as you can find on a person, writing the information onto the profiles to create as complete a life story as you can for that person. Sourcing should be full citations. This includes adding categories and links to events and people connected to that profile and citing all those additions. See the first month for examples of how to participate.

Here's our checklist:

Data Section.

  • birth date/place
  • names of parents
  • marriage date/place and spouse name
  • death date/place

Biography Section:

  • Written (full) sentences stating the facts above, adding inline sources to each fact.
  • Is the profile '''Genealogically Defined?'''
  • As a general rule biographies should be in your own words. Paraphrase and rewrite, don't copy/paste.
  • Baptism, burial, military, and other life events with inline sources.
  • Something to "humanize" the person, such as career or avocation with sources.
  • List of children with at least one pertinent fact.
  • One of the suggestions was siblings. I think this takes up real estate.
  • Explanatory remarks, if needed (e.g. disputed persons information, Research Notes, whatever needs extra explaining).
  • Photos or pictures, background. Not a must, but nice (you need to own the copyright unless they are in the public domain).
  • Categories/Projects.
  • Connection to the Global Tree.
  • All duplicates merged or initiated.
  • Links to persons and events, perhaps from Wikipedia.
  • Historical context as related to the person's life.
  • Sources, Sources, Sources.

You can see some ideas on where to find some of this information on the Biography Builders space page, linked below.

Use "comments" below to ask questions.

NOTE: Biography Builders will not show on the tracker. Please add a list to your answer.

WikiTree profile: Space:Biography_Builders
asked in Requests for Project Volunteers by Anne B G2G Astronaut (1m points)
Hopefully, someone will take you up on your offer Amanda.
I meant to list an answer.
Here's a random question: Do Norwegian farm names count?

The name we use for many Norwegians (similar to others like Swedes) is really a composite name which was how you'd tell "which Syver" you mean. For example, Syver Johannison Bratlien means "Syver, son of Johannes, from the Bratlien farm." More upper-class and city folk were more likely to have family names as we know them, until the government required them for all people. When individuals owned farms (not the church or state), they generally had family names and did not use the farm name.

Farm names were for those who worked on the farm, thus my question.
I don't think so on this one. The name in this case was the name of the farm (a peace of land where someone farmed) not the occupation farmer. Unless of course the farm were named after an occupation eg. Millersland
One of my female profiles was married 3 times, and one of her married names was Fischer.  Can I count this profile, or must the name at birth be an occupation?
A married name is fine, Star. My first is her married name
I just ran across this list of French occupations and their translations. I haven't seen most of them as names in my Acadians, but maybe some of you will see them in your French lines.

Be prepared -- this site plays music on every page, so you might want to disable your sound before opening the page.
Thanks Joyce
I am still working on connecting Richard and Karen Carpernter, I just cant seem to find that elusive link!!  But Carpenter is an occupation!! LOL
Robynne. Carpenter certainly is an occupation. When your done, make sure you post it as an answer.

19 Answers

+8 votes

Here we go again.  Can't believe I signed in first on the list this month.  Where is everybody?

  1. Levi Cartright
  2. Henry Boardman
  3. Philip Cox
  4. Harrison Thacker
  5. Mary (Baxter) Huffstutter
answered by Connie Graves G2G6 Mach 4 (40.5k points)
edited by Connie Graves
Still asleep? Sometimes I post the question earlier like around midnight EST
It's all due to timezones.  I was ready TEN hours ago, but got engrossed in doing something else and thought you might still be asleep...
+7 votes
I'll join this month-sounds like an interesting topic.  Most of my selections will have French language surnames, so I'll include a translation of the name into English as well for clarity.
answered by Greg Lavoie G2G6 Pilot (164k points)
Excellent idea giving a translation Greg, my High school French is pretty rusty.
I'll start by listing some of the profession surnames that I may use:

1.  boucher: butcher

2.  brasseur: brewer

3.  charpentier/carpentier: carpenter

4.  mercier: haberdasher

5.  pelletier: furrier

1.  Marie Clotilde Boucher: Biography written

2.  Henry Joseph Brasseur: Not yet started

+7 votes

Ok..posted comment instead of answer!

My most interesting ones have to be Micklewright "a "superior" maker of machinery or objects"

Micklewright-25 Jane - tabulated census details to make it look nicer.

Micklewright-26 Benjamin- tabulated census details to make it look nicer.

Micklewright-27 Thomas - added baptism, marriages & spouses names, 1841-1881 census, death date/place, probate, list of children and UK project template and "genealogically defined"


answered by Michelle Wilkes G2G6 Pilot (108k points)
edited by Michelle Wilkes

I just discovered that Grosvenor  "is English but of medieval French origins. It is or was occupational. Deriving from the words 'gros veneur', meaning chief huntsman, a very high status in the Middle Ages"


I got distracted again oops

So today, on the last day, I'll try to get as many done as possible..

Not sure if this name is acceptable or not, as I believe a Nun is more vocational than occupational, but I'll include them anyway!

John Nunn Nunn-1469 Birth, Marriage, death and 1851 & 1861 census. Categorised and Genealogically defined

Ellen Nunn Nunn-1353 -just tabulating census details

Lavinia Nunn Nunn-1634 - birth, marriages, death, burial - added list of children -halfway through addding tabulated census details. Genealogically Defined

Thomas Nunn - Nunn-1635 birth, baptism, marriage, death, census 1841-1871, list of children, categories and Genealogically defined

Thomas Nunn - Nunn-1636 marriage, burial and list of children. Category

Susanna Baker Baker-11941 baptism with parent's names, marriage details, burial details list of children with birth & baptism dates/place. added category and genealogically defined

+8 votes

OK, I'm in.  Hmmm, does Schmidt = Smith for this challenge?

So will focus on filling in this Schmidt tree twig.

  1.  - Meta Hoeft Schmidt. Profile created, sourced, LNAB found and biography written.
  2. and Metta's husband Andreas Schmidt.
  3. - John C Schmidt. We now have a sourced profile for their 1st child
  4.   Bertha Schmidt, daughter of above Andreas and Meta. Found sources and add biography
answered by Patricia Roche G2G6 Pilot (283k points)
edited by Patricia Roche

Yes. According to Wikipedia: Schmidt is a common German occupational surname derived from the German word "Schmied" meaning "blacksmith" and/or "metalworker".

+7 votes

I need practice with writing bios, so I am going to challenge myself to do this. I might only get one profile done, but I'm going to try!

I will work on an unsourced Schrader (Schrader is "tailor" in German, which I just found out!)

answered by Natalie Trott G2G6 Pilot (431k points)
edited by Natalie Trott
Go for it Natalie, we all need to start somewhere. I love the international flavour we're getting with this.
I was looking through the wikipedia list of names that were occupations and was surprised to find Schrader. I had no idea.

Will fill in links when complete:

1. Magdalena Schrader Miller [[Schrader-522]] (a two-fer occupational name!)

2. Theodore Schrader [[Schrader-692]]

+8 votes

Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker...well, I've got Bakers, at least.  And did you know that Haywood was an occupation? Well, Hayward: "Hayward, or "hedge warden", was an officer of an English parish dating from the Middle Ages in charge of fences and enclosures; also, a herdsman in charge of cattle and other animals grazing on common land."

Since Haywood/Hayward tend to be interchangeable, depending on how the parish clerk of the time felt, perhaps I will use that. :o)

1.   Emily Murch (Baker) Milward: WWI nurse
2.   Anna (Dyer) Edgecombe: Washerwoman

answered by Ros Haywood G2G6 Pilot (577k points)
edited by Ros Haywood
+8 votes

Great idea, Anne. I knew that Clark=clerk, but didn't know Culbert=seaman, Salmon, a var. of Fisher=fisher, Gowan=smith and Hall=servant employed at a hall. I have quite a few of these on my watchlist that could use some attention, so please sign me up again.

1. Thomas Fisher: miller
2. Edwin Colley Fisher: miller/farmer
3. Ann Salmon Weddup: agricultural laborer's wife

answered by Laurie Cruthers G2G6 Mach 8 (83.7k points)
edited by Laurie Cruthers
+8 votes

I have plenty of options this month: Banker, Barber, Bricker, Butler, Carpenter, Cartwright, Cheeseman, Mather, Meyers, Miller, Smith, Thrasher, Turner, Waggoner, Weaver, Wright, and Zimmerman. 

I thought "Coffin" might be one but actually it means "the bald guy's kid." I also learned that while "Meyers" means some sort of civic official, it was also a nickname for a pompous person.

1. Milton B. Thrasher (1906-1949)

2. Mary Wills Weaver (1871-1921) - possibly born at sea! 

3. Gladys Meyers (1903-unknown)

4. Foster Finch (1761-1843): a bit of a stretch but had to do him because he was an uncleaned GEDCOM. Behind the Name says "It may perhaps also in part represent a metonymic occupational name for someone who caught finches and sold them as songsters or for the cooking pot. "


answered by Amanda D. G2G6 Mach 1 (12.4k points)
edited by Amanda D.
+9 votes
I am in this month.  I didn't find many "occupation" names in my part of the tree but I found one:

Waite Sherman (aka Shearman) Sherman-4936 - her mother's maiden name is Barker which would also fit in the theme.  I will work on improving the bios in this family line.  I am loving the Bio Builders challenges.  What fun!
answered by Caryl Ruckert G2G6 Pilot (106k points)
I am slow.  I just finished the bio for Waite Sherman Lee. I will update any others that I get done.
+9 votes
answered by Natalie Trott G2G6 Pilot (431k points)
Great resource!  Thanks Nat :-)
Thanks Natalie, I was going to find the list, that someone was talking about. You added it before I got to it. I've added it in a comment at the top too. Thanks
Ok, just trying to make it easier for folks to pick a name. :-)
+8 votes
I'll see what I can find. I know I have some Shephards and Taylors. The spelling might not be quite correct, but I feel sure that they come from professions.

1. Hannah Merchant
2. Frederick Fisher
3. Albert Palmer Added to existing biography and added photograph.
4. Hannah (Nelsey) Palmer
5. Oswald Palmer
6. Beatrice Minnie (Osborn) Palmer
7. John Shephard
8. Jane (Orwin) Shephard
9. James Shephard
10. Wilie Franklyn Shephard
11. James Shephard
12. Elizabeth Ann Shephard
13. Ada Shephard
14. Eliza Shephard
15. George Shephard
16. Albert Shephard
17. William Henry Taylor
18. Elizabeth (Bartholomew) Shephard
19. Alice Shephard
20. Joseph Robinson Shipman
21. Elizabeth Taylor
22. Jane Taylor
23. George Taylor
24. Joshua Taylor
25. William Henry Taylor
26. Mayfield Taylor
27. Mary Elizabeth Taylor
28. Bertha Taylor
29. Job Taylor
30. George Taylor
31. James Taylor
32. Frank Taylor
33. Godfrey Taylor
34. James Taylor
answered by Joan Whitaker G2G6 Mach 5 (54.7k points)
edited by Joan Whitaker
Don't concern yourself with spelling in this case. Spelling is and was too unpredictable.
Congratulations Jan,  200 Profiles , Really nice job.
Thanks Anne
+7 votes

Fun fun! I seem to have A LOT of occupational surnames.  I will link when each is completed

  1. Effie Belle (Davis-22589) Baker
  2. Elva Baker-24271 (worked on-not done)
  3. Lawrance Baker-24268 (worked on-not done)
  4. William Baker-24270 (worked on-not done)
  5. Marie-Margarite Boucher-2588
  6. Sarah (Moon-3579) Clark
  7. Wada Bowman-6028
  8. Anna C Bowman-6033


answered by Emma MacBeath G2G6 Pilot (534k points)
edited by Emma MacBeath
+7 votes

This one sounds like fun! I haven't paid much attention to equating names with professions, but thanks to Natalie/Anne for posting the name list, I've discovered Bailey, Fisher, Fleischer, Hawkins, Hoffman, Meyer, Miller, Page, Prince, Ritter, Smith, Snyder... No idea what occupation half of them are!  Plenty more than I'll ever get to this month!

  1. Mahala F. (Page) Holden,
  2. Frederick Hoffman,
  3. Sarah (Snyder) Hoffman,
  4. Elizabeth (Hoffman) Barnhisel,
  5. Marie Therese (Ritter) Johnson,
  6. Francoise (Ritter) Boudreaux,
  7. Bailey Connolly,
  8. Elizabeth (Meyers) Voltz,
  9. Jean George Taylor,
  10. Marie Ritter:
answered by Joyce Rivette G2G6 Mach 3 (40k points)
edited by Joyce Rivette
+5 votes

What a creative category, Anne!  I had no idea there were so many occupational surnames.  Now I can use the reference list to learn about surnames in my collateral lines.  Starting with Becker = baker.

  1. Emma Becker - wrote bio, added in-line citations for every fact, added profiles for her other two children so I could link everyone together.
  2. Jeanne Becker - wrote bio, added in-line citations
  3. Marjorie Becker - new profile complete with bio, in-line citations, and links to other family members
  4. Robert Becker - new profile with complete bio, in-line citations, and links to other family members
  5. Laura Dobson Fischer - wrote bio, added in-line citations
  6. Christian Koch - wrote bio, added new sources, added in-line citations for every fact, added immigration sticker, added profiles for his other seven children so I could link everyone together.
  7. Sofie Koch - wrote bio, added immigration sticker, added new sources, added in-line citations for every fact
  8. Maria Sophia Koch - new profile with complete bio, in-line citations, links to other family members, and immigration sticker
  9. John Gotthold Koch - new profile with complete bio, in-line citations, links to other family members, and immigration sticker
  10. Gottlob Koch - wrote bio, added new sources, added in-line citations for every fact, added immigration sticker
  11. Theresa Bierbach Koch - new profile with complete bio, in-line citations, links to husband and son, and immigration sticker
  12. Friedman Koch - new profile with complete bio, in-line citations, and links to parents
  13. Gustav Koch - added to bio, links to parents and children, in-line citations for every fact, and immigration sticker
  14. Rachel Koch - added to bio, links to children, in-line citations for every fact, and immigration sticker
  15. Friedman Gottlob Koch - new profile with complete bio, in-line citations, and links to parents, wife, and son
  16. Charles Gustav Koch - new profile with complete bio, in-line citations, and links to parents, wife, and children
  17. Minnie Koch - new profile with complete bio, in-line citations, and links to husband and children
  18. Frank Gotthold Koch - new profile with complete bio, in-line citations, and links to parents and wife
  19. Bertha Koch - new profile with complete bio, in-line citations, and link to husband
  20. William Henry Koch - new profile with bio, in-line citations, and link to parents
  21. Mary Susan Koch - added text to bio and in-line citations for every fact
  22. Mary Magdalena Koch - created new profile with bio, in-line citations, and link to parents
  23. Mary Magdalene Koch - created new profile with bio, in-line citations, and link to parents and twin brother
  24. John Koch - created new profile with bio, in-line citations, and link to parents and twin sister
answered by Star Kline G2G6 Pilot (506k points)
edited by Star Kline
+4 votes
Is "Shield" a profession? Here's my offering

added a Brewster but realised this was a new profile & won't count , as this is an exercise to improve existing profiles.

found a Fuller

couldn't resist giving Christian Tosher a tweak in passing

found an unsourced Spicer  & heading off into no mans' land to try & connect other likely Spicer twigs in the tree. May be gone some time.
answered by Valerie Willis G2G6 Mach 6 (61.1k points)
edited by Valerie Willis

I started to tell you, I don't think so but .... Definition 2 from Merriam Webster: one that protects or defends : So I guess he's in

+4 votes

1. Lydia (McCann) Bishop. She's also my week 3 in 52 ancestors, and I took her out of my to-do list.

I was lamenting the fact that I was working on profiles of so many people that didn't qualify, on the off chance I looked up the meaning of Webster. And... is a variant of the occupational name Webb, which was originally given to a weaver.

2. William Webster
3. John Webster
4. Emett (Welle) Webster
5. John Webster
6. Isabel (Kythin) Webster
7. John Webster
8. Margaret Webster

9. Judith (Phippen) Hayward
10. Smyth
11. Mary Smyth
12. Mary Smith

13. Isaac Wright

answered by Anne B G2G Astronaut (1m points)
edited by Anne B
Way to go, Anne!
+3 votes

I'm in. A quick look at my watchlist shows quite a few surnames that are occupations.
1. Ephraim Abbott DEFINED
2. Samuel Abbott  DEFINED
3. Elizabeth Cutler DEFINED

answered by Bob Keniston G2G6 Pilot (173k points)
edited by Bob Keniston
+2 votes
I am in to try my hand at this.
answered by Linda Barnett G2G6 Pilot (308k points)
Hi Linda, I see you answered this months bio builders (Occupational surnames) Did you complete any Biographies?
+2 votes
For a little light relief, I am watching in youtube Tony Robinson introduce the viewer to "The Worst Jobs in History" to see where some of those ex profession family names originated.
answered by Valerie Willis G2G6 Mach 6 (61.1k points)
Valerie, Did you finish any profiles for this months bio builders (occupational names)
Forget my question, I see you have two answer posts.

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