Knowing an ancestor’s occupation can help you distinguish him or her from others with the same name. The records about your ancestor’s occupation could provide information about his or her life and family.
Most trades required a training period or apprenticeship that included several steps. Records were often created to indicate the progress or completion of this training. These records can provide information about the apprentice such as age, place of residence, length of apprenticeship, and father’s name.
In most societies, occupations were a measure of social status. Some trades were viewed as more prestigious than others. Many trades, such as butchers, tanners, shoemakers, tailors, and others, were organized into guilds. Guild records often give information about workers such as names of parents, place of origin, occupation, and age.
Some types of occupational records that you will find are:
- Guild records
The Family History Library has collected some occupational records for Australia. The following are three such records that may describe your ancestor’s life and trade:
Australia. Department of Public Instruction. Register of Teachers, 1860–1903. Salt Lake City, Utah, USA: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1976. (Family History Library Microfilms 919340–919348.)
These registers are particularly rich in genealogical information because the information required on the form includes date of birth, nationality (often listing the county and country of birth), religious denomination, starting date as a teacher, resignation date, professional training (which often includes names and places of schools attended in the country of origin), previous employment (by places and years), miscellaneous facts (such as when the individual came to the colony), wife’s maiden name (if married), wife’s attainments and experience (if she also taught school), the number and ages of the teacher’s children, and an employment history.
Queensland Railways. Central Division. Employees’ Records, 1866–1919. Salt Lake City, Utah, USA: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1990. (Family History Library Microfilms 1669247, 1669252.)
Tasmania. Charitable Grants and Children of the State Department. Alphabetical Register of Children Apprenticed of Queens Asylum 1860–1879. Salt Lake City, Utah, USA: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1961. (Family History Library Microfilms 284705 item 1.)
Books about occupations and records of occupations are listed in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
AUSTRALIA, [STATE]- OCCUPATIONS
AUSTRALIA, [STATE], [TOWN]- OCCUPATIONS