Occupations of
Our Ancestors

These pages updated September 9, 2016

For the most part, the majority of our ancestors were farmers or stock raisers. However, there were others who looked for work outside of the home. In considering the high cost of education and the need for these persons to remain on the homeplace working, it is sometimes amazing that they were able to become educated in some fields. Some trades though were learned from the father and passed down, such as blacksmithing; others were learned when young men were apprenticed out to others or in some instances, these young men were orphaned early in life and had no other options. I have tried to include most all of the most prominent occupations of the early days, with a short explanation of the trade. Some of these are simply positions that people held in ADDITION to farming such as a trustee.

I will attempt in each category to give a brief description of the occupation if I can. I will be adding a few names here and there as I gain more information on the "other percent" in some unfinished townships. Otherwise this listing has been completely updated.

Some occupations I have grouped together such as the "Stone Workers" includes mason, cutters, as well as stone quarry workers. Under topics stating "all kinds" I have divided those on the next pages. The names of the occupations are as the workers referred to them.

I urge everyone; if you know your ancestor's occupation (other then farmer), please submit them and I will post it.

Agricultural/ County Agents Animal Doctors/Trainers Apiarists (Bees)
Architects Artists Attorneys/Lawyers
Bakers Bankers Barbers
Bartenders Basket Makers Blacksmiths
Boiler Makers Book Agents/Bookstores Bookkeepers
Brickyard/Brickmakers Broom Makers Butchers/Meat Packers
Cabinet Makers Candle Makers Carding Machine Operators
Carpenters (All Kinds) Carriage & Buggy Makers/Painters Chair Makers & Factories
Chambermaids Cigar Manufacturers Clerks (All Kinds)
Clothiers/Furriers Coal Miners Confectioners/Candy Makers
Collectors Contractor/Builder Cooks
Coopers Coroners/Medical Examiners County/City Officials (All)
Cream Testers Dairy Men Dentists
Distillers (Makers) Druggists Dry Goods Merchants
Editors Engineers Expressman
Farm Implement Dealer Farm Renter/Landlords Ferryman
Fisherman Florists Fruit Tree Growers/Vendors
Furniture Dealers Gamblers/Hermits/Loafers Gardeners/Nurserymen
Grain Dealers Grocers Gun Smiths
Hair Dressers Harness Makers Hardware Merchants
Hose Manufacturers Hostlers Hotel Operators
House Joiner Hucksters Ice Dealers
Ice Cream Saloons Insurance Agents Janitors
Jewelers/Watch Makers/Clock Makers Judges/Justices Lamp Lighters
Lightning Rod Agents Liquor Merchant Livery Stable
Locksmiths Log Haulers Lime Kiln/Factory
Lumber Dealers Lumber Mill Owners Machinist
Map Agent Marble Works Mechanic
Merchants (all kinds) Mill Operators (Saw-Grist) Millers/Mill Hand/Worker
Milliners Military Ministers/Preachers/Evangelists
Musicians Nail Mill Workers Newspapermen/Newsboy/Writers
Night Watchmen Organ Makers/Peddlers/Repairers Painters/White Washers
Paper Hangers Patent Wright Peddlers
Phrenologists Photographers Physicians/Nurses
Planing Mill Operators/Workers Plasterers Postal Workers
Potters Printers Prostitutes
Publishers Pump Makers/ Shop Workers Rag Buyers
Railroad Men (All) Restaurant Owners Roll Mill Workers
Roofers/Shingle Makers Saddle Makers Saloon Owners/Operators
Saw Mill Workers Sculptors Seamstress//Dressmakers
Sewing/Knitting Sewing Machine Agents Shoe & Boot Makers
Silversmiths Stave Makers/Rivers Steam Fitters
Street Car Drivers Stock/Cattle Dealers Stone Workers (All)
Stove Makers/Dealers Superintendents (All kinds) Switchboard Operators
Tailor Tanners/Curriers Teachers/Lecturers (Band/Music/School/Professors)
Teamsters/Teaming/Drayman Telegraph Operators Terrotyper/Linotyper
Tile Factory/Mill Tin Makers/Smiths Toll Gate Keepers
Tombstone Cutters Traders Traveling Salesman/Drummers
Trimmers Trustees Undertakers/Funeral Directors
Varnishers Wagon/Plow Makers Wagon Shop Owners
Waitress/Waiters Washing Weavers
Well Diggers & Ditchers Wheelwrights Wood Choppers
Wood Workman Wool Mill Workers Wool Spinners


Debbie Jennings

Website Coordinator