Column: Finding an Ancestor’s Occupation

Between today and Wednesday, my genealogy column, Roots to the Past, is available in the following Atlantic Canada newspapers:

Saturday: The Citizen (Amherst)

Saturday: Times & Transcript (Moncton)

Wednesday: The Lunenburg County Progress Bulletin (Lunenburg County)

Title: Finding an Ancestor’s Occupation

Snippet: My children are entering the work world as they take on part time jobs in high school and college. The jobs they have chosen reveal their skills and their preferences. My daughter—studying to become a large-animal veterinarian—chose to work at a farm store, whereas my son—considering a future in heavy-duty mechanics—has worked summers as a mechanic’s helper. Researchers from the future considering these professions will make assumptions about them just as we look back at our ancestors to learn details about their lives from their professions.

A person’s occupation can tell us where they lived, their skill sets, their social status and how comfortable financially they lived. Finding an ancestor’s trade is often an easy part of the genealogy puzzle to solve. Several records make note of this fact, revealing a person’s history in the work force.

The number one place I find occupations is in census records. It is often not noted in the index of a census, so the actual record or digital image must to view.

Taking the 1911 Census at Automated Genealogy as an example, I find my 62-year-old great-grandfather John Typert as a contractor at a saw mill.

. . . To read more, pick up one of the above noted newspapers.


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