Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

3 free websites to research ancestors’ employment


What did your ancestor do for a living?

Many of the vital family history records that we use to reconstruct our ancestors’ genealogical relationships will often yield information on their occupations. Investigating what our ancestors did for a living can help to inform us of their world views, and to understand many of the decisions they took in life. The details gleaned can frequently include what they earned, where they chose to live, how they knew other people, and even what their political affiliations might have been, and many resources are available to help flesh out the stories.

Researching your ancestors’ employment & occupations

In the March 2019 issue of Family Tree genealogist Chris Paton delves into the enormous range of online and other resources to help your trace your ancestors’ employment history. He has picked over 50 great websites to boost your chances of search success, and below we have picked out 3 of our favourite free websites from his selection – which includes those who served in British military occupations, performers, professionals, miners, medics and more – to get you off to a flying start.

Useful websites

• Hall Genealogy Website’s Old Occupation Names 
Consult the pages on Hall Genealogy Website’s Old Occupation Names for helpful definitions of old occupations found on family history records such as birth, marriage and death certificates and the census.


ScotlandsPeople has a handy glossary of terms and abbreviations found in records, including occupations, that you can search or browse.


• The Maritime History Archive

We are an island nation so many of our coastal ancestors had maritime occupations. The Maritime History Archive – though based in Newfoundland, Canada – has lots of British resources including a crew agreements database for 1857-1942 and an online catalogue.


You might also be interested in these stories:

* Top five genealogy websites for beginners

3 free websites for researching your ancestors’ occupations


Other great places to look for employment information include newspaper archives, trade directories and the subscription genealogy sites, as well as The National Archives.


• You can find Chris Paton’s full guide to tracing your ancestors’ occupations, along with a guide to employment history, only in the March 2019 issue of Family Tree, available here.




Back to "Useful genealogy websites" Category

04/02/2019 Share this story   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Recent Updates

New Ancestry DNA Communities launched

Ancestry has today launched an update to AncestryDNA, adding county-level detail to UK ethnicity results and ...

Rise like Lions – research your Peterloo ancestors

16 August 2019 marks the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre in Manchester, England, when thousands of ...

100,000 Victorian convicts added to prison records for Milbank, Parkhurst and Pentonville

TheGenealogist has released over 100,000 individuals into its Court & Criminal Records collection, including ...

A 'history' of the Moon

With the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landing upon us, Charlotte Soares waxes lyrical about lunar history ...

Other Articles

FamilySearch affiliate status for Midland Ancestors Family History Centre and Library

The Midland Ancestors Family History Centre and Library in Birmingham have been awarded Affiliate Library ...

The Emm family reunion

Family historian Adele Emm shares the delights of her recent family get-together: the family history ...

Write your family history in 1,000 words!

In the latest issue of Family Tree we launched a challenge to write your family history in 1,000 words. ...

Starting your family tree: advice from the Family Tree family!

What advice would you give to your newbie self if you were starting your family tree? That’s what we asked ...