Occupations

Some common lines of work in the family tree, with links to related articles. Plus a bunch of links for useful resources on particular jobs, with a general round-up at the end of the page.

Agriculture

The ubiquitous agricultural labourer (often abbreviated to ‘ag lab’) is in the family tree across the board. And also plenty of domestic gardeners, largely in Norfolk.

The text of The Village Labourer 1760-1832 is available to read online or download at the Internet Archive (no need to buy the book!).

British Agricultural History Society.

Many of those who emigrated to Canada and USA (mainly Manitoba and Nebraska) became farmers.

In Nebraska, Dale Flowerday was an academic agronomist, gaining a PhD but also providing practical insights – see Making the news makes family history. In Norfolk, Jack Boddy was farm manager and a trade union activist, becoming General Secretary of the National Union of Agricultural Workers in 1978.

The Cullum family branched out into fruit growing: A fruitful life for a Norfolk accountant.

Mining

Not just in the Welsh valleys digging coal (Tonypandy/Rhondda, other South Wales), but prior to that in Somerset – Radstock Museum for more on mining there.

The Gluyes family moved from the tin mines of Cornwall, following their decline in 1860s/70. See Cornish Mining info on Poldark Mine site or search for ‘Cornish tin mines‘ on Google.

It seems that Rees Hughes, hubbie of 3 x great aunt Elizabeth Griffiths, mined for gold in New Zealand. His brother Thomas had more success.

Mining history sites:

The Griffiths wing of the family also were coal miners (amongst other things), in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. The Annual Reports of Mine Inspectors for that area are available online – large files but give a fascinating insight into the level of incidents and fatalities. (Wilkes-Barre is in the Third Anthracite District at 1890 – boundaries may move.) Also see Recognised anthracite miner of Pennsylvania.

Levi Watkins was a pit Fireman. From Rootsweb forum post: “A man whose duty it is to examine with a safety lamp the underground workings and ways, to ascertain if gas exist, to see to doors, bratticing, stoppings etc., being in good order, and generally to ascertain that the ventilation of the mine is efficient.” The term Fireman came from the time when the job was much more dangerous, firing off gas to clear it from the workings.

Professional

Clerks, Accountants, Lawyers, Political

Most notably William J Cullum as accountant at Maconochies.

Edmund Pike (who married cousin Katie Jane Watts) was a friendly society clerk, his father Octavius a Workhouse Masters clerk.

BankingEdwin Jeary in Nebraska, also a lawyer and politician. Jim Flowerday also in Nebraska (Lincoln).

Clark Jeary, son of Edwin, attorney-at-law and politician.

Plenty of other clerks recorded in the census – ledger and merchants clerks mainly dealing with money, solicitors clerks more on legal matters?

Jack Boddy and wife Merle in Norfolk were in local politics, and see Agriculture, above, too.

Teacher

A speciality of the Howes family. But others too.

Music

Joseph Gregory, band leader and musical instrument retailer Cardiff/Tonypandy.

Matthew Sibley (b 1893), music teacher/professional musician.

William Griffiths Davies, of Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania, musician.

Art

See A bunch of artists.

Domestic, Retail

Electrical retailers – William Walters and Frank Watkins at Thomas Brothers, Llanelli, see The Electrical Connection. There are a number of links to radio/TV transmission, amateur and professional.

Decorator

Henry Williams and AAB Howes in Norwich, Jonny Brookstone (also decorators merchant) in Tonypandy.

Homestyling now takes the place of Brookstone Decorators Merchant, Tonypandy

Domestic Servant

The job of many of the women before getting married – housemaid, cook etc. One or two also stayed in this line of work, e.g. see Making a Case for the Myhills.

Grocer

Laddiman, Lake, Cullum – Norfolk. Daniel Thomas – Wilkes-Barre.

Stan Scott, Co-operative store assistant, Tonypandy.

Fresh produce

Greengrocer: Owen Evans in Barry, Wales (also fishmonger); Gordon Feek in Cambridgeshire?; Ambrose Briselden in Catford.

Fish and fruit: Taylor family in the Rhondda (fish by train from Fishguard), connected Trask family later fruiterers in Weymouth.

Several butchers.

Food and drink

Confectioner, baker in Norwich.

Bakers (presumably due to yeast connection) also involved in the licensed trade (pubs).

Innkeeper/publicans in Norfolk include John Harper Smith, Arthur and Elizabeth Cutlock, Denmark Dunch, the Lakes. Several barmaids and waitresses.

In south Wales valleys, John and Caroline Osborne are club stewards at 1939.

Norfolk Public houses history, Pub History Society. Info on researching Publican, Brewery and Licensed Victuallers Records on Genguide.

Tranter/general dealer

Especially Robert Osborne in Somerset in 19th century (and close relatives), also listed as horse dealer. Commercial travellers too.

Insurance agent

Levi Watkins in Wales/London, Albert FW Howes in east England/Hull, and others. Insurance clerks: Herbert Howes, Horace Dawson.

Manufacture

Shoe manufacture

Mainly in Norwich, both as individual makers/repairers and later in the factories – for the latter women particularly. StartRite Shoes history pages have some background.

Smith

Silversmith – Henry Frederick Neal in Norwich (1905-1963). “Of some repute”, he refurbished the silver in Norwich Cathedral after the war. His father Henry (b 1881) was a blacksmith, locksmith, knife maker.

Blacksmith – various, including the Girlings in Kettleburgh; farrier (and licensed victualler) Henry Andrews in Norwich.

Tailor

And ‘tailoress’. Norfolk and Somerset.

Weaver, spinner, etc

Girth Web Weaver and variations, in Somerset.

Silk Mill hand in Norwich and Wilkes-Barre (Pennsylvania).

Lace making in Nottingham and Scranton (Shephard family).

Construction

Carpenter, bricklayer/builder, draughtsman.

Electrical

Electrical engineer and inventor Theophilus Farrall.

Transport, communications

Telephone linesman/area manager (Nebraska) Edwin James Flowerday. (Son Wayne studied electrical engineering, and worked for Boeing.)

Carter, Horseman or Groom

Mainly Norfolk.

Postal

Arthur Howes (b 1885) in Norwich/Ipswich and wife Hilda Brock – Getting posted to the Post Office.

George Neobard in Ipswich – sub-post office and baker.

Henry Albert Price – postmaster and grocer, Moreton Corbet, Shrops.

Ernest Andrews postman Norwich, Albert Andrews sorting clerk/telegraphist Norwich.

British Postal Museum and Archive.

Print

Joseph Sibley in Chicago.

O’Briens – Charles b 1864 (printer/compositor), Charles Frederick b 1887 (printer/linotype operator) and Charles Theophilus b 1912 (typographer/journalist).

Useful link: Scottish Archive of Print and Publishing History Records.

Railway

Various signalmen, firemen, electricians, porters, labourers, cleaners and clerks. Perhaps an engine driver or two.

Useful links: Railway Ancestors family history society, Railway Archives has info on accidents and more.

Maritime

John Harper Smith b 1792, master mariner as well as publican and coal dealer. See Entirely to the Water from Birth, which also includes others from that family branch with maritime connections – a harbour master, sail maker, shipwright etc. as well as watermen, sailors.

Stanley Cullum b 1904, ships engineer, worked his way up to Chief Engineer on the Aragon (and commodore of the line). See All at sea with a new cousin.

Clifford Taylor, sauce cook on Queen Mary (and other ships).

Beasor family worked in Deptford dockyards, Thomas William (b 1861) also had a spell at sea. Edward Wallace Goodridge briefly ship’s cook.

William Cummins (b 1835, related to the Shephard family) worked his way up from tide waiter (customs on board vessels in port) in Portsea to Chief Collector of Customs in Essex. Father reputed to be a mariner.

Useful links:

Virtual Waterways Archive, Canal and Rivers Trust archive records. Boat Families covers Leeds-Liverpool Canal & associated waterways.

Other Work

For women

Infirmary/Asylum/Workhouse nurse or attendant, Dressmaker/Seamstress.

For men

A missionary and clergy (from Welsh valleys). See The return and disappearance of the missionary Mays.

A few soldiers (e.g. George Henry Crundwell, Thomas Mallett).

Several policemen (Norwich and London e.g William Balls, Cyril Watts).

Police History Society, Essex Police Museum, South Wales Police Museum, Greater Manchester Police Museum.

A distant connection to professional boxer Tommy Farr.

Also noted: one chimney sweep, and a ‘stock and share broker’ in Leeds.


Other recent professions: watch/clock repairer, pharmacist, artists.

Working Links

Related posts on Cutlock and Co

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