I have decided to try to participate in Shauna Hicks's 52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2014, although I do lack a little confidence in my ability to do full justice to each topic, as I seem to be rather time-poor lately. I have a bit of catching up to do also, as I am coming in at Week 10. Better late than never.Shauna launched this blog challenge to "stimulate my own genealogy blogging efforts in 2014 by focussing on a different kind of genealogical record each week. I wanted a challenge that reflected my own archival background as well as my own genealogy interests and there are probably lots of other records that I could have included. The challenge has an Australian focus but most of these records will be found just about anywhere in the genealogy world." What a great idea!
Week 10 focuses on Occupation Records. Within my own famiy history many ancestors were tied to the land (Ag Labs abound), although some professions do seem to appear quite regularly in some lines. 6 generations of Millers appear in my father's mother's family, 4 generations of plasterers run in my mother's paternal line. Census records give me the professions of a few generations, with Ancestry (I use the Library Edition) as my main source of records. Several old directories have been very handy too, including the Historical Directories of England and Wales. Sometimes marriage or death certificates have given me information, and Trove has been another useful source.
Once you find the occupation it can be another challenge to work out exactly what the occupation involved. Sites such as Old Occupation Names or Old Occupations in Scotland can be a great source of information (and amusement), especially for my favourite example, the ancestor who listed Hooker as her occupation on her marriage certificate in 1874. For those who think this may be just too much information at such a time - here is the listing from Old Occupation Names :
1) 16c. Reaper 2) 19c. Textile mill worker operating machinery which laid out fabric in uniform folds to required length. Yes, she worked in a textile mill.