Old Irish Occupations
When looking at historical family records and documents like the census or marriage certificates you sometimes come across a profession or trade that is not familiar or is even completely unknown to us today.
Here is a list of the some old Irish occupations that are sometimes seen on old documents. Some you may be familiar with, others you can maybe guess but many sound very strange to modern ears.
In any case, knowledge of these may help in your family research when reading old documents.
Table of Old Irish Occupations – How many do you know?
|Occupation||Modern Job Description|
|Apothecary||Someone who prepares and sells medicine|
|Bang Beggar||A parish official who determines how long a stranger/ vagrant can stay in the parish|
|Beetler||Beetling machine operator to produce high lustre cloth|
|Bloodletter||Applies leeches to a patient for medicinal reasons|
|Bobber||A metal polisher|
|Boot closer||Stitches shoe uppers to the soles|
|Cab driver||Driver of a horse-drawn vehicle for hire|
|Cainer||Walking stick maker|
|Carder||Carding wool or cotton to clean and untangle fibres|
|Chandler||Candle maker or grocer, a ships chandler sold item for boats|
|Cobbler||Shoemaker or repairer|
|Conveyor||Someone who sells goods|
|Cooper||Makes wooden casks, barrels and other staved containers from timber that was usually heated or steamed so it could be fashioned and made metal staves or hoops for barrels . It could take 7 years for an apprentice to master the craft.|
|Costermonger||Sells fruit and vegetables|
|Currier||Employed in tanning leather|
|Dealer||Sells used goods, usually clothes|
|Doffer||Removes the full bobbins and spindles from weaving machines|
|Fireman||Stoker attending to the furnace on a train of ship|
|Flax dresser||Removes coarse flax fibres in preparation for spinning|
|Haberdasher||Dealer in sewing item, hats and small wares|
|Half-timer||Child who goes to school for half a day and works the rest in the mills|
|Huckster||Seller of small articles or wares|
|Jobber||Someone employed and paid for a specific job, not in full time employment|
|Journeyman||Craftsman who has completed his full apprenticeship|
|Someone employed to wake people up for shift work by rapping their doors (or tapping windows if on upper floor)|
|Millwright||Designer and builder of mills|
|Monger||Seller of goods, usually fish or ale|
|Nailor||Someone who makes nails|
|Pensioner||Soldier who had completed his service or was invalided out of the army|
|Ploughwright||Maker of ploughs|
|Philosophical instrument maker||Maker of scientific instruments|
|Poundmaster||Responsible for the care of stray animals in the pound|
|Saddler||Maker of saddles and bridles|
|Scutcher||Beats flax to extract linen fibres|
|Taper||Candle wick maker|
|Winder||Adds yarn onto bobbins for industrial spinning machines|
Old Irish Occupations in Census Records and Marriage Records etc
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