Researching your family history could turn up real gems, or make you frustrated with dead-ends.
One of the biggest keys to unlocking family information is the occupations they held. What someone does for a living says a lot about them as a person and helps you understand who they were.
Fortunately, a person’s occupation is one of the easiest clues to find and often points you in the direction of new leads or directions to follow. Found on marriage, death and a child’s birth certificates, occupations are also listed on census records.
Occupation listings give you amazing insight, such as:
- Skilled trades often passed from father to son so an occupation may confirm a family relationship
- Surnames used to derive from the living a person had, e.g. Farmer, Thatcher, Miller, Collier, so are a way to check you are investigating the correct person or a way to distinguish between two people with the same name
- If the job involved travel, e.g. in the military or railway worker, it may give clues as to where to look geographically for more leads.
This guide will help you understand the terms and definitions you will likely find in your research to help you interpret the information for the breakthrough you need.