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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Places to Learn About Your Ancestor's Occupation

1927 Columbia City Directory (SC), page 675 (Richland Library)

Are you looking to learn more about your ancestor's occupation? In addition to census records, other record types exist that may help shed some light on what your ancestor did for a living.
  • It is common to find an ancestor's occupation on a death certificate.
  • Your ancestor's occupation could be recorded on funeral home records, but you will need to be able to provide your ancestor's full name along with the date and town of death and burial. See Funeral Home Records.
  • Some city directories provide the occupation of your ancestor if he or she lived within the city boundaries. If you ancestor was a doctor or business owner, you may also find the occupation listed twice (one time with the family and another under the business name). Notice the photo above of the 1927 Columbia City Directory provides the occupations of those listed.
  • Ancestors who immigrated or emigrated may have provided their occupation among immigration or emigration records. See United States Emigration and Immigration.
  • The World War I Draft Registration is one type of military record where occupations are recorded. To learn of other military records that provide information about occupation, see US Military Record Selection Table.
  • In different states, children who were orphaned worked as apprentices, and sometimes you are able to locate these records in the local archives. This article provides places where you can locate apprenticeship records in the state of Tennessee: Tennessee Occupations.
Occupations varied by location, so it will be helpful to study the types of occupations that existed in the state where your ancestor lived. The local archives is a place where you may find more resources.

Be sure to search the Research wiki using the following search terms: "(state) occupations." This will lead you to articles describing occupations in the state you choose. Here is an example of an article on Illinois Occupations. Resources are provided for researching the following Illinois occupations:
  • farmers
  • lawyers
  • medical workers
  • state employees
  • Pullman car workers
You can also search the Research Wiki for articles on specific occupations such as doctors or lawyers where you can learn about resources in different locations for those occupations.


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