Archaic Occupational Names


Sometimes we will find an article about an ancestor where the occupation was listed.  Unless the article is about a person from the recent past, we may not recognize the occupation.  Of course, we can Google it and probably find the definition, but not always.  There are many articles on the internet that provide lists.  I have included a list of links.
Family Tree Researcher: Dictionary of Old Occupations – Index (
England Surnames Derived from Occupations, Ranks (National Institute) • FamilySearch
Dictionary of Old Occupations and Trades (
75 Names of Unusual or Obsolete Occupations (
The following list was copied from the web –  listed as an open-source article.
Accomptant – Accountant
Almoner – Giver of charity to the needy
Amanuensis – Secretary or Stenographer
Artificer – A soldier mechanic who does repairs
Bailie – Bailiff
Baxter – Baker
Bluestocking – Female Writer
Boniface – Keeper of an inn
Brazier – One who works with brass
Brewster – Beer manufacturer
Brightsmith – Metal Worker
Burgonmaster – Mayor
Caulker – One who filled up cracks
Chaisemaker – Carriage maker
Chandler – Dealer or trader; one who makes or sells candles; retailer of groceries
Chiffonnier – Wig maker
Clark – clerk
Clergyman – cleric
Clicker – The servant of a salesman who stood at the door to invite customers; one who received the matter in the galley from the compositors and arranged it in due form ready for printing; one who makes eyelet holes in boots using a machine which clicked
Cohen – Priest(Rabbi)
Collier – Coal Miner
Colporteur – Peddler of books
Cooper – One who makes or repairs vessels made of staves & hoops, such as casks, barrels, tubs, etc.
Cordwainer – Shoemaker, originally any leather worker using leather from Cordova/Cordoba, Spain
Costermonger – Peddler of fruits and vegetables
Crocker – Potter
Crowner – Coroner
Currier – One who dresses the coat of a horse with a currycomb; one who tanned leather by incorporating oil or grease
Docker – Stevedore, dock worker who loads and unloads cargo
Dowser – One who finds water using a rod or witching stick
Draper – A dealer in dry goods
Drayman – One who drives a long strong cart without fixed sides for carrying heavy loads
Dresser – A surgeon’s assistant in a hospital
Drover – One who drives cattle, sheep, etc. to market; a dealer in cattle
Duffer – Peddler
Factor -Agent, commission merchant; one who acts or transacts business for another; Scottish steward or bailiff of an estate
Farrier – A blacksmith, one who shoes horses
Faulkner, Falconer, Fell Monger – One who removes hair or wool from hides in preparation for leather making
Fletcher – One who makes bows and arrows
Fuller – One who fulls cloth; one who shrinks and thickens woolen cloth by moistening, heating and pressing; one who cleans and finishes cloth
Gaoler – A keep of the goal, a jailer
Glazier – Window glassman
Hacker – Maker of hoes
Hatcheler – One who combed out or carded flax
Haymonger – Dealer in hay
Hayward – Keeper of fences
Higgler – Itinerant peddler
Hillier – Roof tiler
Hind – a farm laborer
Holster – Reaper
Hooper – One who made hoops for casks and barrels
Huckster – Sells small wares
Husbandman – A farmer who cultivated the land
Jagger – Fish peddler
Journeyman – One who had served his apprenticeship and mastered his craft, not bound to serve a master, but hired by the day
Joyner/Joiner – A skilled carpenter
Keeler – Bargeman
Kempster – Wool comber
Lardner – Keeper of the cupboard
Lavender – Washer woman
Lederer – Leather maker
Leech – Physician
Longshoreman – Stevedore
Lormer – Maker of horsegear
Malender – Farmer
Maltster – Brewer
Manciple – a steward
Mason – Bricklayer
Milliner – a person who makes or sells women’s hats
Mintmaster – One who issued local currency
Monger – Seller of goods (ale, fish)
Moss Picker – In southern Louisiana, moss pickers were individuals who picked Spanish moss from trees along the bayous and swamps. The moss was sold to mattress factories where the moss was debugged and stuffed into mattresses.
Muleskinner – Teamster
Neatherder – Herd cows
Ordinary Keeper – Innkeeper with fixed prices
Pattern Maker – A maker of a clog shod with an iron ring. A clog with a wooden pole with a pattern cut into the end
Peeler – Policeman
Peregrinator – Itinerant wanderer
Peruker – a wig maker
Pettifogger – a shyster lawyer
Pigman – Crockery dealer
Pile Doctor – Anyone know what this one is?
Plumber – One who applied sheet lead for roofing and set lead frames for plain or stained glass windows
Plume Maker – Makes feathered plumes for hats/helmets
Porter – Door keeper
Pottery mold carrier – “Jiggerman” – what one might call a ceramic “batcher” today
Puddler – Wrought iron worker
Quarrier – Quarry worker
Rigger – Hoist tackle worker– One who rigs sails on ships
Ripper – Seller of fish
Roper – Maker of rope or nets
Saddler – One who makes, repairs or sells saddles or other furnishings for horses
Sawbones – Physician
Sawyer – One who saws; carpenter
Schumacker – Shoemaker
Scribler – a minor or worthless author
Scrivener – Professional or public copyist or writer; notary public
Scrutiner – Election judge
Shrieve – Sheriff
Slater – Roofer
Slopseller – Seller of ready – made clothes in a slop shop
Snobscat/Snob – One who repaired shoes
Sorter – Tailor
Spinster – A woman who spins or an unmarried woman
Spurrer – Maker of spurs
Squire – Country gentleman; farm owner; justice of peace
Stuff gown – Junior barrister
Supercargo – Officer on merchant ship who is in charge of cargo and the commercial concerns of the ship
Tanner – One who tans (cures) animal hides into leather
Tapley – One who puts the tap in an ale cask
Tasker – Reaper
Teamster – One who drives a team for hauling
Thatcher – Roofer
Tide Waiter – Customs inspector
Tinker – An itinerant tin pot and pan seller and repairman
Tipstaff – Policeman
Travers – Toll bridge collection
Tucker – Cleaner of cloth goods
Turner – a person who turns wood on a lathe into spindles
Victualer – A tavern keeper, or one who provides an army, navy, or ship with food
Vulcan – Blacksmith
Wagoner – Teamster not for hire
Wainwright – Wagon maker
Waiter – Customs officer or tide waiter; one who waited on the tide to collect duty on goods brought in
Waterman – Boatman who plies for hire
Webster – Operator of looms
Wharfinger – Owner of a wharf
Wheelwright – One who made or repaired wheels; wheeled carriages, etc.
Whitesmith – Tinsmith; worker of iron who finishes or polishes the work
Whitewing – Street sweeper
Whitster – Bleach of cloth
Wright Workman – a construction worker
Yeoman – Farmer who owns his own land

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