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In doing family history research, nothing compares to the moment when you find out some unknown detail like what an ancestor did for a living in a historical record.Read more
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By Lesley Anderson, Ancestry.ca Content Specialist
In doing family history research, nothing compares to the moment when you find out some unknown detail like what an ancestor did for a living in a historical record.
Records on Ancestry.ca can help reveal trends in occupations at a particular time in history. I often discover trends and similarities in my own ancestry. I loved horses, and I found out within an 1881 census record on Ancestry.ca that my great grandfather was a horse keeper; I loved teaching and my ancestor aunts were also teachers. It is interesting to find out that a great grandfather was a carpenter and your son is also enjoying working with wood. Is that kind of thing passed down in our DNA?
Census, City Directories and Voter’s lists are the best place to find out what trade or occupation your ancestor did. On Ancestry.ca we have Census records beginning from 1851 that will list the occupations of everyone in the household. Some occupations are easy to understand, but some aren’t — probably because that job or craft has disappeared. Prior to the 1900’s, Canada was mainly an agricultural society and afterwards became more urban and professional. A few of my ancestors were “agri labourers” working on the land.
City and Area Directories are like telephone books with names, addresses, and can also list occupations for everyone listed. Ancestry.ca also has directories dedicated to a particular profession, i.e. Clergy, Lawyers, Physicians. Voter’s lists, Vital Records of Birth, Marriage and Death and also Military records can also show the occupation of an ancestor.
Start searching and find the historical record image to discover what your ancestors did for a living!