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Old Occupation Meanings

Old Occupations



Advocate Solicitor acting in a Law Court

Ag Lab Agricultural Labourer

Alewife Woman who runs an alehouse

Annealer Processing metal or glass by furnace-heating and immersion in chemical baths

Annuitant Non-working person receiving an annual income or pension

Apprentice Trainee bound to learn a craft or trade

Assizor A juror

Bailie Magistrate in a Scottish burgh

Bailif Guard of fishing rights on a river

Banksman Man in charge of miners' cages at pithead

Bard Poet or story-teller

Baxter Baker

Beetler Operator of beetling machine to emboss fabric

Blaxter Bleacher of cloth

Bottler Filler of bottles, often in distillery

Bowman Sub-tenant who farmed tenant's cows for a season

Brewster Maker of beer, a brewer

Burgess Man listed as merchant or craftsman in a town burgh

Callenderer Smoothing cloth or paper by passing through rollers

Candler Maker or seller of candles

Carder Preparing wool for spinning by brushing with wire pads

Carter Working with horse and cart on farm or in towns

Catechist Instructor in religious doctrine

Caulker Filling cracks usually in ships by sealing with tar

Cellarman Keeper of wine and spirits

Chaisemaker Carriage maker

Chandler Dealer in goods, often a ship's supplier

Charwoman Cleaning woman

Chowder Seller of fish, a fishmonger

Clagger Person removing clags or dirty clots from a fleece

Clark Clerk

Cloth Lapper Cleaned cotton fibres before sheets fed into carding machines

Coachman Driver of coach and horses

Coal Trimmer Person who stabilised coal-carrying barges/ships

Cobbler Maker or repairer of shoes

Collier Coal miner

Colourman Mixer of dyes in textile trade

Colporteur Travelling book seller

Cooper Maker of barrels and casks, often for distillers

Cordiner Maker of leather goods, especially shoes

Cordwainer Cordiner (qv)

Costermonger Street seller of fruit and vegetables

Cottar Tenant with only cottage and a little land

Cow-feeder Tenant of small farm with dairy cows

Crofter Tenant of farm and cottage (croft), usually in Highlands and Islands.

Currier Person curing or tanning hides

Custumer Custom-house officer

Dexter Dyer

Diker Builder of dry stone walls

Dom. Serv. Domestic servant

Dominie School teacher

Draper Dealer in fabrics and sewing materials

Drawer Mine worker pushing or dragging coal carts

Dresser Surgeon's assistant

Drover Cattle dealer and mover of livestock

Drayman Cart driver, a carter

Drysalter Dealer in pickles, dried or tinned meats, and sauces

Dyker Builder of dry stone walls

Exciseman Collector of taxes

F.S. Female Servant

Factor Estate agent for landowner, collector of rents

Farm servant Farm worker contracted to work for farmer

Farrier Blacksmith who shoes horses

Fireman 1. A fire fighter 2. Person in charge of a furnace, eg. on a ship

Fitter Assembled wooden parts or machinery

Ferry-louper Orkney name for incomer from mainland

Feuar Landholder under feudal system paid a feu (fee) to the overlord

Flesher Butcher

Fletcher Maker of arrows

Fruictman Man who sells fruit

Furnaceman Attending to furnace in metal works

Gamekeeper Guard and breeder of wild game (pheasants etc) on an estate

Ganger Foreman or squad leader

Gaoler Jailer

Gen. Lab General labourer

Ghillie Highland guard of wild game, especially deer

Girnalman In charge of meal store or granary

Glover Maker of gloves

Grieve Factor, collector of farming rents

Groom Responsible for horses on an estate

H.L.W. Hand loom weaver

Haberdasher Dealer in articles of clothing

Heritor Landholder in a parish

Hammerman Metal worker, a smith

Hatter Maker of hats, a milliner

Hawker Peddler

Herd Shepherd

Hewer Miner underground

Hind Farm labourer

Hostler Person looking after horses at an inn

Hooper Maker of hoops for barrels

Howdywife Midwife

Jackman Attendant or retainer, for a nobleman or landowner

J.P. Justice of the Peace

Jobbing man Employed for a variety of small jobs or tasks

Journeyman Qualified tradesman, apprenticeship served

Kirk-master Deacon in a church

Kish maker Maker of woven willow baskets

Laird Rural estate landowner, usually in the Highlands

Lamplighter Employed to light the gas street lamps in Victorian cities

Lengthsman Railway worker responsible for maintaining a length of rail track

Limmer Thief or scoundrel

Lineator Surveyor or measurer

Litster Dyer of cloth

M.S. Male servant

Maltster Preparer of malt for brewing

Mason Stone cutter and layer

Master Head school teacher Skilled and self-employed craftsman or tradesman

Master Mariner Ship's captain

Milliner Maker of hats and female headgear

Min. Minister (or miner)

Monger Seller of goods, eg fish, iron

Nailer Maker of nails by metal cutting and shaping

Notary Solicitor, lawyer

Orraman Spare man or odd-job man around the farm

Ostler Hostler, person looking after horses at an inn

Pauper Person without means of livelihood

Pendicler Sub-tenant with some grass and arable land

Pensioner Usually a retiree from the Army

Pirn-winder Threaded yarn on weaving mill machines

Pitheadman Worker at coal mine surface

Platelayer Railway worker laying and repairing rails

Ploughman Farm worker with working horse and plough

Pointsman Railway worker who operates rail points

Pony Driver Leading pony underground pulling coal hutches

Porter Baggage carrier, or door keeper

Portioner Possessor of property divided amongst co-heirs

Post Boy Guard travelling on mail coach

Procurator Lawyer or advocate

Procurator-Fiscal Principal public prosecutor in district

Puddler Iron worker operating a puddling or ball furnace

Quarrier Worker in stone quarry

Railway Lengthsman Railway worker responsible for maintaining a length of rail track

Reidare Minor clergyman in early Church, a reader.

Relict Widow

Riever Robber, originally of cattle

Rivetter Shipyard worker joining metal plates with rivets

Saddler Maker and repairer of horse saddles and leathers

Sawbones Surgeon or physician

Sawyer Worker in sawmill or timber pit

Scallag Poor male or female farm servant of a tacksman

Scavenger The "scaffie" brushed and cleaned the town streets

Scholar Usually a child attending school

Sclater Slater, a roof tiler with slates

Scullery Maid Kitchen servant

Servitor Clerk or secretary

Sexton Layman guarding church building and vestments

Sheriff Chief officer of Crown in county

Shingler Roof tiler with wooden shingles

Shipwright Constructor and repairer of ships

Ship Master Owner or captain of ship

Skinner Flayer of hides

Solicitor Lawyer

Souter Shoemaker

Slater Roof tiler with slates

Smith Metal worker

Spirit Merchant Dealer in spirits, wines and ale

Station Master Railway employee in charge of station

Steward Chief of household of royal or noble family

Stoker Stoked fuel in to a furnace or boiler, eg on a ship

Stravaiger A vagrant.

Surfaceman Worker at mine surface

Tacksman Farm tenant who sub-let rents or tacks

Tailzeor Tailor

Tambourer Embroiderer using hoops to hold the cloth

Tanner Curer of hides to make leather

Thatcher Roofer working with reeds or heather thatch

Tinker Travelling repairman , seller of pots and pans

Trencherman Cook

Turner A lathe operator, in wood or metal

Vermin Trapper Employed to trap and kill rats, mice, foxes, moles, as pests.

Victualler Supplier of food and provisions

Vintner Wine merchant

Wainwright Wagon maker

Walkster Cloth worker cleaning and thickening cloth by wetting and walking over it

Wheelwright Maker or repairer of wheels

Whitesmith Worker in tin and light metals (cf. Blacksmith)

Wright Joiner or carpenter

Writer Solicitor

W.S. Writer to the Signet (solicitor

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last updated on: April 3rd, 2017

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