Jack of all trades? Discover your ancestor’s occupation through deeds and documents
7th June, 2018

Discovering your ancestor’s occupation can be pretty exciting! Occupations give an insight into your ancestor’s life as they can reveal the skills and traits your ancestor may have had, as well as indicate the social and financial status of your ancestor. This information will enrich your family history even further.

Whilst occupation information is available in census records, people often changed their job within a ten year period. Our archival collection of deeds and documents pre-dating 1935 can help fill in those missing years from first jobs to retirement. Deeds including assents, leases and conveyances usually contain occupations, as well as death and probate records. In this blog we take a look at some of the occupations we’ve discovered so far.

As a large percentage of our records come from the Manchester area at the time of the industrial revolution, it’s not surprising that quite a few people in our records come from the textile industry. Occupations include yarn merchant, wool buyer, cotton spinner, wire drawer and millwright. Other industries include timber, from which we have woodcarvers, wood breakers, joiners and wheelwrights, as well as various occupations from the metal industry including steel merchant, lead light maker, brass founder and blacksmith.

We of course have plenty of employees from the legal field including clerks, solicitors, secretaries and typists. People from this field are most likely to have witnessed the deeds rather than be party to them. Those in domestic service were also likely to be witnesses, including housekeepers, footmen, maids and butlers.

For the more exotic careers we have an Indian tea planter, sugar merchant and banana merchant. These occupations would be fantastic to research and could no doubt give you a fascinating insight into your ancestor’s life.

Other unusual occupations on our website include:

  • Wall paper manufacturer
  • Wardrobe dealer
  • Stenographer
  • Self Actor Minder
  • Rag Merchant
  • Peruke Maker
  • Oyster and Mussel Merchant
  • Lime Agent
  • Leather Cutter
  • Ladies Costumier
  • Knight
  • Ginger Beer Manufacturer
  • Furrier
  • Fried Fish Dealer
  • Fancy Fur Hat Dyer
  • Black Ball maker

To search our website for occupations, go to person search, then advanced search and enter an occupation into the search bar – have a look today!