Neal relations at Cuckoos Cup, The Wrekin


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.


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.

Museum of English Rural Life has agricultural trade unionism records and other relevant material.

Rural Museums Network.

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


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 and creative

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). Frederick Cullum (son of William J), bank clerk with the National Bank of Scotland London office.

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.


Missionaries, preachers etc.

From Welsh valleys

  • Scott line: William Charles Scott, pentecostal minister in Stoke-on-Trent. Also Spencer Edward May and wife Daisy nee Scott, pentecostal missionaries/Assemblies of God – see The return and disappearance of the missionary Mays. For other Scott pentecostal connections on Cutlock & Co see ‘A fraud of a husband‘ (towards the bottom of the article) re Phyllis and Emma.
  • Osborne line: Albert Gregory (1896 – 1970) minister at Methodist chapel Bush Houses/Clydach Road, Tonypandy, as well as a coalminer. And see ‘Blaengwynfi and beyond‘ for Osborne pentecostal connections in that area (under The Religious Revival sub-head lower down).


  • William John Cullum, as well as being an accountant as above, was a leader in the Church of Christ chapel at Piltdown, and perhaps involved in the church before the family moved to Sussex.


A speciality of the Howes family. But others too.

History of Education Society.

There’s a British Schools Museum in Hitchin, Herts.


Joseph Gregory, band leader and musical instrument retailer Cardiff/Tonypandy. See More than a musical footnote.

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

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


See A bunch of artists.


More recent professions: watch/clock repairer, pharmacist.

Retail, household


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

Homestyling now takes the place of Brookstone Decorators Merchant, Tonypandy


William Walters and Frank Watkins at Thomas Brothers, Llanelli – see The Electrical Connection.


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), with connected Trask family later as fruiterers in Weymouth.

Several butchers.

Food and drink

Confectioner, baker in Norwich.

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

Innkeeper/publicans in Norfolk include John Harper Smith, Arthur and Elizabeth Cutlock, Denmark Dunch, the Lakes. See Not quite teetotal Norwich ancestors. Plus several barmaids and waitresses.

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

Norfolk Public houses history, Pub History Project Leicester, Lost Pubs Project, Pub History Society. Info on researching Publican, Brewery and Licensed Victuallers Records on Genguide. National Brewery Centre archives.

Tranter/general dealer

Especially Robert Osborne in Somerset in 19th century (and close relatives), also listed as horse dealer. Commercial travellers too. Robert’s father Joseph was a ‘pig jobber’, buying and selling the creatures.


Going to see Uncle tells the tale of setting up shop in Cheltenham featuring Jane Quayle nee Smith.

Insurance agent

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

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.


Shoe manufacture

Mainly in Norwich, both as individual makers/repairers and later in the factories – for the latter women particularly.


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.


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).


Carpenter, bricklayer/builder, draughtsman.


Electrical engineer and inventor Theophilus Farrall.

Transport, communications

Carter, Horseman or Groom

Mainly Norfolk.

Postal, telephone

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. Also worth keeping an eye on Addressing Health, a three year project from 2020 looking at “Morbidity, Mortality and Occupational Health in the Victorian and Edwardian Post Office”.

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


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 Printing Archival Trust.

Railway, canals

The family tree has various signalmen, firemen, electricians, porters, labourers, cleaners and clerks. Perhaps an engine driver or two.

Useful links:


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:

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

Other Work

For female relations: Infirmary/Asylum/Workhouse nurse or attendant, Dressmaker/Seamstress.

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, Gloucestershire Police Archives, Herts Past Policing, Greater Manchester Police Museum, West Midlands Police Museum, Worcestershire Police History, British Transport Police History Group, Police Roll of Honour.

A distant connection to professional boxer Tommy Farr.

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

Working Links

Organised labour

Related on Cutlock and Co


One response to “Occupations

  1. pete69rbg avatar

    Hey! How about adding my Delicatessen to the Food & Drink section ;)

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