I'm posting below a transcription I made of brief excerpts of one of my all-time favorite Wall St. Journal articles, by Cynthia Crossen written in 2002. I could not find any way to e-mail her personally, and the article is surely copyrighted, so that is all I will do.
Occupation information can be found by Googling census information, etc.
Another source I love is the old city directories on Ancestry.com. One you find one for an ancestor, you can scroll through it. Often listings of businesses by category can be found at the end. I love the whimsy of the alphabetical listings, where, for example, "Patent Attorney" is listed just before "Peanut Butter Manufacturers."
Over Time, America Lost Its Bullwhackers
by Cynthia Crossen
Career Journal, Wall St. Journal, 24 September 2002
Thinking about changing careers? Consider becoming a gizzard peeler, bread chopper or sulky driver.
These are three of the 31,000 job titles recognized by the 2000 census, a powerful and sometimes comic reminder of the sweep and specialization of America's labor force. The list includes weight guessers and snake charmers; fountain jerks and soda jerkers; gigolos and pimps; minstrels and freaks. You'd probably already know if you're a clairvoyant or fortune teller, but how about retooling yourself to be a hot tamale man or a baggage smasher?
The U.S. Census Bureau has not released any occupational data from the 2000 census...consider the possibility of becoming a shill, a pigeon fancier, a tonsorial artist, a smoke eater or a fish straightener.