Where to Find Ancestor Occupations

If you are like me, you want to know as much as possible about the lives of your ancestors. Determining their stories is a challenge, especially if there is no one alive who remembers the ancestor that you are researching.

But fortunately, there are a number of documents that record at least, the occupation of the target ancestor, and that can tell you a lot about the person.

Knowing how the ancestor worked tells you a lot about how they lived and possibly their standing in the community.

Here are several places where you can determine what your ancestors did in their “work-life”:

  • Census Records
  • City Directories
  • Draft Cards
  • Death Certificates
  • Passenger Lists
  • Birth Certificate/Record of the child
  • Military Enlistment and Other Records
  • Photographs
  • Marriage Certificates
  • Voter Registrations
  • Mortuary Records
  • Naturalization Records
  • Passport Applications
  • Patent Applications
  • Social Security Applications – Employer’s name is often included
  • Obituaries
  • Membership in Fraternal Societies
  • Union Membership Documents
  • Wills/Probate
  • Newspaper Articles of all kinds – Legal notices, advertisements, and classified ads are often useful
  • Miscellaneous Court Documents
  • Apprenticeship Records
  • Recorded local and town histories
  • Alumni Directories

Was one of your ancestor’s occupation a word that you don’t understand?

Make sure and check out the “280 Old Occupations Used in the Census and Newspapers in the U.S. and U.K.at Old Occupations

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