Tips and Tricks

Tips, tricks, and ideas to help with your genealogy research. Explore these posts to find new ways of researching for those elusive ancestors and breaking through brick walls.


Surname Backgrounds

Here are some names of old occupations that may give you an idea of the history of your surname:

Surname Occupation
Backman/Backster/Baxter/Beck/Becker baker
Barker One who strips bark from trees
prepares leather with bark = tanner
Bauer German for farmer
Beadle/Bedel/Bedell town crier or someone who keeps order
Boniface innkeeper
Brewster female brewer
Burgess represented a borough at official levels
Carter one who moves goods in a cart
Cartwright makes carts and wagons
Chamberlain treasurer or head of household for royalty/nobility
Chandler sells candles, grocer, provisioner especially for ships
Chapman itinerant peddler
Crocker potter
Currier man who dresses and colors leather after it’s tanned
Cutler knife seller or sharpener
Dyer works in a textile mill to color fabric before weaving
Farmer works the land and may have descended from nobility
Fuller person who shrinks, beats, presses cloth
Glover makes or sells gloves
Granger farmer
Harper harp player
Hayward town official in charge of fences, enclosures, collecting strays
>Hooper makes hoops for barrels
Joyner/Joiner carpenter
Marshall highest ranking officer in some countries
Mason stonecutter
Mercer cloth seller
Rodman surveyor’s assistant
Roper makes nets or ropes
Sawyer saws timber
Shearer/Sherman barber, shears fleece, cuts metal or cloth
Skinner sells hides
Slater roofer
Smith metal worker
Trotter messenger
Turner lathe worker
Weaver runs a loom
Webster weaver, in the past a female weaver
Wright builds or repairs, skilled in different trades