Translating old occupation names into modern parlance

The world of blue and white-collar jobs was very different back then. Considering the way they lived their lives as well as the absence of advanced technology, working before was entirely poles apart from how careers are evolving now.

One of the big differences is how occupations were named before. Someone referred as a hooker today is very far from how a hooker is defined back in the 17th or 18th century. In fact, a hooker in the olden days meant someone was working at a farm.

Times Are Changing

Understand that no farmer calls himself or herself a ‘malender’ now because well, times are changing. There were a lot of cultural differences back then, like slangs that account for these old occupations.

Change is as natural and constant as the air we breathe. As time went by, more changes occurred, more jobs were created, different needs arose as well as the technological breakthroughs being made.

Curious to Learn What these Old Occupations Are?

There are tons of old occupations in many countries, especially in the U.S and European regions. Here’s a snippet of some, according to the US Gen Web Project:

  • Accomptant — Accountant
  • Almoner — Giver of charity to the needy
  • Bailie — Bailiff
  • Baxter — Baker
  • Bluestocking — Female writer
  • Collier — Coal miner
  • Cooper — One who makes or repairs vessels made of staves and hoops, such as casks, barrels, tubs, etc.
  • Cordwainer — Shoemaker, originally any leather worker using leather from Drayman — One who drives a long strong cart without fixed sides for carrying heavy loads
  • 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
  • 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 keeper of the goal, a jailer
  • Haymonger — Dealer in hay

Where else can you learn about these old occupations?

There are tons of genealogical websites all around the world that have comprehensive databases. The best way to go about this is by filtering into your area and appreciating how the world of work was once.

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