DrupalWomenQ-#7456

is there a good way to find out what kind of work/profession ancestors had?

27 Answers

  1. cafamily wrote on :

    Census records, death certificates, and biographies (often online or indexed online) are wonderful resources for occupations. Often the occupation of one individual will vary from decade to decade, giving you clues about the economy or possibly some opportunities your ancestor may have come across.

    Reply
  2. jwagn wrote on :

    I like to use the Social Security application. You have no idea when the application was filled out but if it was when the person was working. I should have the job they are doing.

    Reply
  3. clcrss wrote on :

    First, check census records to see what occupation is listed … and as others have suggested, look at death certificates and even city directories for a person’s occupation. Once you find what type of work a person did – you may also need to check the following website for a description of the job.
    http://genealogy.about.com/library/glossary/bl_occupations.htm
    clcs

    Reply
  4. Ultimate-Genealogy wrote on :

    Census, city directories, death certificate or obits are the most common. WWI and WWI draft registrations, pension records, some marriage records or children’s birth records, wills, probate records, and if in the last 80 years social security applications or if they immigrated (the immigration records) usually list occupation. Also town histories or local biographies.

    Ultimate Genealogy
    http://www.ultimate-genealogy.com/

    Reply
  5. SherlyC wrote on :

    I agree about the census records. Also, try birth certificates of any children. Father’s profession is sometimes given. Another good way is to check out any old photographs you may have of family members. Sometimes, depending on the type of work, you could have a photo of a person in a uniform or work outfit or in a workplace location such as an office. Let me know if you need any photos deciphered. Sherly

    Reply
  6. FromAAA wrote on :

    Census records and obits if available

    Reply
  7. ceirrageorgia wrote on :

    The US Federal Census usually tells you their profession depending on the time period. City Directories in the City they worked also lists profession. Check with your local library for the location of the census and directory. Complete census can be found on ancestry.com. Hope this helps

    Reply
  8. nancyhendrickson wrote on :

    Beginning on the 1850 federal census, there were questions asked about occupation. This is a great place to begin your search.

    Reply
  9. dspurlock01 wrote on :

    If you are looking at an ancestor who lived prior to vital records registration, city directories, census, and the like, perhaps you can get a clue from looking at an inventory of his estate. The types of tools he had can give you some information about his occupation.

    Reply
  10. dhooper wrote on :

    Depending upon the year, the occupations were listed in the census records. They are also found on the death certificate depending upon the state. Marriage records often list the occupation also. Obituaries may also list the occupation. If your ancestor lived in an urban area, city directories also list occupations. In colonial times up to the mid 1800s, occupations may have been listed in land records and wills. Hope this helps!

    Reply
  11. gradyjb wrote on :

    Many of the answers say the same thing. However you can also get copies of original social security applications which listed occupations in the early years. Another good place is land records and homestead applications.

    Reply
  12. Melin_Swango711 wrote on :

    Censuses will list occupations. City Directories when availble will also show occupations. If the ancestor is in a rural area, you can bet that he may be a farmer.

    Reply
  13. nanjones wrote on :

    Census records from 1850 on always list the occupation if you can read the hand writing of the census taker. Also some towns and cities had city directories(like a phone book but just info.) Thye also list the occupation. Thses are available for the time period following the Civil War until into the 1900’s.

    Reply
  14. MaryDouglass wrote on :

    In addition to the census, death certificates already mentioned, occupation is often listed in obituaries.
    Mary Douglass http://www.historical-matters.com

    Reply
  15. wrote on :

    Yes from census records, death and marriage records of the ancestor and sometimes from birth records of their children. It is always worthwhile checking parish records and obits. Gill

    Reply
  16. sshayward wrote on :

    Census records, draft registrations, old phone directories, birth certificates, obituaries, passenger lists.

    Reply
  17. amiddleman wrote on :

    Check out the census reports. Ancestry.com can show you copies of the original documents, and in some of the years (1910, I think) they give the occupations. Not sure about all the census records, but some of them have it.

    Reply
  18. Genteacher wrote on :

    I agree with what everyone else has said – census records and city directories. If you need further help let me know.
    Marilyn Giese
    http://www.askagenealogist.com

    Reply
  19. Heritage Detectives wrote on :

    In my research I have found that census records, death records and the older city directories list type of work my ancestors had done.

    Reply
  20. Jerry wrote on :

    Other sources of listed occupation for your ancestor might be passport, immigration if they were here after 1850 or social security applications after 1934. Also, state census records probably include that information.

    Reply
  21. sandra18100 wrote on :

    There are a range of ways to find out the occupation. As well as the census records, the man’s occupation should also be shown on their own and their children’s marriage certificate. Hope this helps,
    sandra@ances-tree.co.uk

    Reply
  22. aaevansdc wrote on :

    If the ancestor lived in a large community, check the city directories. For most years the US Population Census inquired what work the people did.

    Reply
  23. tinarozelle wrote on :

    Professions were listed on census records, military, and death records. Let me know if I can be of any other help,
    Tina
    Info@ southernfamilyhistory.net

    Reply
  24. VMAH wrote on :

    Census records.

    Reply
  25. redpak wrote on :

    the census will show professions and also city directories

    Reply
  26. relativelycurious wrote on :

    Professions were listed on census records, and often in city directories. You can access census records for free via HeritageQuest through most public library websites, usually requires a library card and internet sign in.

    Reply
  27. rrjwj wrote on :

    I usually find out by the census or death certificate. Sometimes on death certificates they even put the place of employment. City Directories also usually list who someone works for and what they do. R

    Reply
Are you an FOF Guru? Please to log in and post your response