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Ever wonder what that job listed for your ancestor really was? Here's a list compiled from many, many sources. Not everyone agrees on every meaning of course. When did everyone ever agree? Also, meanings varied from country to country, region to region, even locale to locale.

Accomptant - accountant
Accoucheur/Accoucheus - one who assisted women in childbirth
Accoutrement maker/accoutre - supplier of military accessories
Ackerman/Acreman - ploughman, an oxherder
Actuary - kept public accounts of business
Aeronaut - balloonist or a trapeze artist in the circus or music halls
Affeeror - tax assessor
Alblastere - crossbow archer
Alderman - city official of less status than mayor
Alewife - woman tavernkeeper
Almoner - giver of charity to the needy; in England a councilman or judiciary member
Amanuensis - secretary or stenographer; person who could write; record keeper
Apiarian - beekeeper
Apothecary - prepared and sold medicines or drugs; pharmacist
Apprentice - person bound to a skilled worker to learn the trade
Archiator - physician
Artificer - a soldier mechanic who does repairs
Assayer - person who determined the proportions of metal to ore
Aurifaber - goldsmith
Badgy Fiddler - boy trumpeter in the military
Bagman - traveling salesman
Bailie - bailiff
Barber - barber; local dentist
Bard - poet
Barker - tanner
Barrister - lawyer; solicitor
Batman - officer's servant in the military
Baxter- baker
Besom Maker - broom maker
Bladesmith - swordmaker or knife maker
Blentonist - water diviner
Bluestocking - a female writer
Boarding Officer - person who inspected ships before they entered port
Boardwright - carpenter
Boatman - worked on boats primarily on rivers and canals
Boatswain - ship's officer in charge of rigging and sails
Bobby - policeman
Boniface - a keeper of an inn
Boonmaster - surveyor, maintainer and repairer of roads
Bowsmith - maker of bows
Botcher - tailor or cobbler
Brazier - one who works with brass
Brewster - beer brewer
Brightsmith - metal worker, mostly lead
Buffalo Soldier - black soldier in the American West
Bullwhacker - oxen driver
Bummer - army deserter
Burgonmeister/Burgomaster - mayor
Busker - hair dresser
Butner - button maker
Cafender - carpenter
Cambist - banker
Cartographer - map maker
Cartwright - maker of carts and wagons
Catechista - teacher of religion
Caulker - person who fills up cracks in ships to make them watertight using tar or oakum-hemp fiber from old ropes
Chaisemaker - carriage maker
Chandler - dealer or trader; one who makes or sells candles; owner of a general store
Charwoman - cleaning woman
Chiffonnier - wig maker
Chimney Sweep - chimney cleaner
Clacker - magician; astrologer
Clark - clerk
Clicker - the servant of a salesman who stood at the door to invite customers in; one who received the matter in the galley from the compositors and arranged it in due form ready for printing; one who made eyelet holes in shoes
Clod Hopper - plowman
Clogger - maker of wooden shoes
Coalier - maker of charcoal
Cobbler - maker of shoes
Cohen - priest
Collier - coal miner
Colporteur - book peddler
Confectioner - one who owns a bakery
Cooper - one who makes or repairs vessels formed of staves and hoops, such as casks, barrels, tubs, etc.
Cordwainier - shoemaker, originally a worker who used leather from Cordova, Spain
Costermonger - peddler of fruits and vegetables from a barrow; a street trader
Coxwain - ship or boat helmsman
Crocker - potter
Crofter - tenant of a small piece of land
Cropper - tenant who is paid with a share of the crop
Crowner - coroner
Currier - horse groomer; one who tanned leather using oil or grease
Daguerreotype Artist - early photographer
Delver - ditch digger
Docker - stevedore; worker who loads and unloads cargo on the dock
Domestic - household servant
Dowser - one who finds water using a rod or 'witching stick'; sheep tick remover
Dragoon - mounted infantryman
Draper - a clothier, generally women's; a seller of dry goods
Drayman - one who drives a cart without fixed sides for carrying heavy loads; a haulier who carries beer in barrels
Dresser - surgeon's assistant in a hospital
Drover - one who drives cattle or sheep to market; cattle dealer
Drummer - traveling salesman
Duffer - peddler
Factor - agent; commission merchant; one who transacts business for another; Scottish steward or bailiff of an estate
Farrier - one who shoes horses; blacksmith; in England a person who uses a farrier - an axe with a long handle which is used to killed lamed animals and cut up carcasses
Faulkner - falconer
Fell Monger - one who removes hair or wool from hides in preparation for making leather
Feller - woodcutter
Fletcher - one who made arrows
Fuller - one who 'fulls' - shrinks and thickens woolens by moistening, heating and pressing; one who cleans and finishes cloth
Gagniokeeper - in charge of a bath house or brothel
Gaoler - jailer
Glazier - window glassman
Granger - farmer
Haberdasher - seller of men's clothing
Hacker - maker of hoes
Hatcheler - one who combed out or carded flax
Haymonger - dealer in hay
Hayward - keeper of fences
Higgler - Itinerant peddler
Hillier - roof tiler
Hind - farm laborer
Hobbler - boat tower on a river or canal
Hodsman - mason's assistant
Hoofer - dancer
Hooker - reaper; prostitute [from Civil War times] although it is doubtful someone would list this as an occupation
Hooper - one who made hoops for casks and barrels
Hosier - retailer of stockings, socks, gloves, nightcaps
Hosteller - innkeeper
Hostler - groom who takes care of horses at an inn
House Wright - house builder
Huckster - seller of small wares
Husbandman - senior worker on a farm, generally in charge of livestock
Iceman - seller or deliverer of ice
Interfactor - murderer
Jagger - fish peddler
Jobber - a buyer in quantity to sell to others
Joiner/Joyner - skilled carpenter
Journeyman - one who served his apprenticeship and is hired by the day
Kedger - fisherman
Keeler - bargeman
Kempster - wool comber
Knocknobbler - dog catcher
Knoller - church bell ringer
Lagger - sailor
Lardner - keeper of the cupboard
Laster - shoe maker
Lavender - washerwoman
Lederer - leather maker
Leech - physician
Longshoreman - stevedore
Lormer - maker of horse gear
Lum Swooper - chimney sweep
Maid - female domestic servant
Malendar - farmer
Maltster - brewer
Manciple - steward
Mango - slave dealer
Mantua maker - dressmaker
Mason - bricklayer; stone cutter
Master - one who has mastered his craft and is hired by the day
Midwife - experienced woman who assisted in childbirth
Millner - maker of women's hat
Mintmaster - one who issued local currency
Monger - seller of goods (ale, fish)
Muleskinner - teamster
Muleteer - mule driver
Neatherder - person who herds cows
Nedeller - needle maker
Noterer - notary
Ordinary Keeper - innkeeper with fixed prices
Out Crier - auctioneer
Pantler - butler
Pasteler - pastry chef
Pastor - shepherd
Pattern Maker - maker of clog, a wooden pole with a pattern cut into the end; shod with an iron ring
Pedascule - schoolmaster
Perambulator - surveyor
Peregrinator - itinerant wanderer
Peruker - wig maker
Pettifogger - a shyster lawyer
Pigman - crockery dealer
Piker - tramp; vagrant
Piller - thief; robber
Pilot - person who steered ships
Plumber - one who applied sheet lead for roofing and set lead frames for plain or stained-glass windows
Poleman - surveyor's assistant
Ponderator - inspector of weights and measures
Porter - door keeper; gate keeper
Potato Badger - seller of potatoes
Preceptress - school mistress
Prentis - apprentice
Proctor - official of a university
Prothonary - law clerk
Publican - innkeeper
Puddler - wrought iron worker
Puggard - thief
Punky - chimney sweep
Purser - ship's officer in charge of provisions and accounts
Quarrier - quarry worker
Rag Man - collector of old clothes and rags
Ratoner - rat catcher
Reeve - church warden
Registrar - town official who recorded births, deaths, marriages and land records
Rigger - hoist tackle worker
Ripper - fish seller
Roper - maker of rope or nets
Rockgetter - rocksalt miner
Rodman - surveyor's assistant
Runner - smuggler
Rustler - cattle thief
Saddler - one who makes or sells saddles, harness and other horse furnishings
Sawbones - physician
Sawyer - carpenter who saws
Schumacker - shoemaker
Scribe - clerk
Scribler - minor or worthless author
Scrimer - fencing master
Scrivener - professional or public copyist or writer; notary public
Scrutiner- election judge
Searcher - customs official
Sempster - seamstress
Sexton - employee or officer of a church in charge of its maintenance; church bell ringer; sometimes grave digger
Sharecropper - tenant farmer who would be paid with part of the crop
Shearer - removed fleece from sheep
Ship Husband - repairer of ships while they were in harbor
Ship Master - owner or captain of a ship
Shrieve - sheriff
Sickleman - harvested crops with a sickle
Skinner - dealer in hides; mule driver
Slater - roofer
Slopseller - seller of ready made clothes in a slop shop
Snobscat/Snob - one who repaired shoes
Solicitor - lawyer
Sorter - tailor
Spinster - unmarried woman; woman who spun cloth for a living
Spurrer - spur maker
Squire - country gentleman; farm owner; justice of the peace
Stationer - bookseller, seller of paper & writing instruments
Statist - politician
Steeple Jack - cleaned flag poles, church steeples
Stuff Gown/Stuff Gownsman - junior barrister
Supercargo - officer on merchant ship in charge of cargo and commercial concerns of the ship
Sutler - merchant or peddler in an army camp
Tanner - one who tans or cures animal hides
Tailor - one who made or repaired clothes
Tapley - one to puts the tap in an ale cask
Tanner - leather maker
Tasker - reaper
Teamster - one who drives a horse team for hauling
Thatcher - roofer
Thresher - one who separated the grain from the husks and straw
Tide waiter - customs inspector
Tinker - in itinerant tin pot and pan seller; repairman
Tipstaff - policeman
Tobacco Spinner - cigar maker
Town Crier - one who made public announcements in the streets
Tranter - peddler
Travers - toll bridge collector
Tucker - cleaner of cloth goods
Turner - one who turns wood on a lathe into spindles
Turnkey - prison warden or jail keeper
Valet - male servant
Victualler - keeper of a restaurant or tavern; one who provisions an army, navy, or ship with food
Vintner - wine merchant
Vulcan - blacksmith
Waggoner - teamster not for hire
Wainwright - wagon maker or wagon repairer
Waiter - customs officer; one who waited on the tide to collect duty on goods
Wakeman - night watchman
Warder - prison guard
Waterman - boatman for hire
Wayman - road surveyor
Weatherspy - astrologer
Webster - operator of looms
Wet Nurse - woman employed to suckle a child [generally means she recently had a child of her own]
Wharfinger - owner of a wharf
Wheelwright - made or repaired wheels
Whipperin - managed the hounds in a hunt
Whitesmith - tinsmith; worker of iron who finishes or polishes the work
Whitewing - street sweeper
Whitster - cloth bleacher
Wright - workman, especially a construction worker
Wyrth - laborer
Yeoman - a farmer who owns his own land

© 1998-2004 by Cheryl Rothwell

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