Wednesday, September 4, 2019

GenFriends~Labor Day:What Was Your Ancestor's Occupation?

In this episode of GenFriends Melissa Barker, Kathryn Lake Hogan and Christine Woodcock I discuss our ancestor's occupations. We talk about why you should know and tips on where to find documents and clues to what they did for a living.

Click on the link below to watch:

Why? Knowing your ancestor's occupation can help you
-distinguish between same-named people
-add to their stories
-lead to other records types.

How? Some places to look
-census records
-death records
-military records
-probate records
-family stories
-ephemera-paperwork, badges, souvenirs
-school records
-newspaper articles and adds
-county histories

Once you've found the occupation, look for records it might suggest.
Did they have to attend school or apprentice to have that job? 
Are there clubs or societies associated with it?

Look for museums and historical societies having displays or other information on the occupation to learn what it may have been like for your ancestor. 

Read! Look for articles and books devoted to the work your people did for a living.

Have you discovered your ancestor's occupation? What source gave you the answer?
We love to hear from you!
Thanks so much for watching!

Want to contact this week's panelists?
Melissa Barker-The Archive Lady
Kathryn Lake Hogan-Looking 4 Ancestors
Christine Woodcock -Genealogy Tours of Scotland
Cheri Hudson Passey-Carolina Girl Genealogy

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Thanks so much for stopping by!
Helping you climb your family tree,


  1. Excellent video on YouTube!
    I wanted to add a comment. We nowadays often think of a person having *one* occupation at a time. This was true in most industrial and city settings, perhaps, but not so much for many farmers.
    In my WV father's lines, they were pretty much listed as farmer, farmer, farmer. But sideline businesses were common.
    My gggrandfather was a 'farmer', but a lot of his time was spent in timbering. He owned half interest in a mill. Even held stock in a bridge company, and had interests in a couple of small oil/gas wells.
    Even in earlier days, one might be a 'farmer' but also had the skills and equipment to do small blacksmithing/farriering, or making boots to order, or had a grist mill on the property.
    True for women who were 'keeping house', also. If you had a loom and weaving skills, that was often a side business. Or a good seamstress might be making people's wedding clothes or 'Sunday go to meeting' clothes.
    Making cheese, brewing, that kind of thing, were all side businesses.
    Fascinating stuff!

    1. Thank you so much for watching and sharing! I have found my ancestors having more than one source of income as well. You are right! It is fascinating!