Morayshire Family History Sharing


Scottish Occupations

We have all have some sort of paperwork that has occupations listed, Civil Registrations, Monumental Inscriptions, Census returns and Probate records to name a few.

Over the years occupations have come and gone, new industries and technologies have taken over from the workers on the land and crafters

This list is a partial extract of an occupations list on Scotroots Ancestor Service and is listed here with their permission, with additional occupations added by myself.

Occupation Description
Advocate Solicitor acting in a Law Court
Agricultural . Labourer (Ag. Lab) A labourer working on the land.  Will be seen in most documents as Ag.Lab.
Annealer Processed metal or glass by furnace-heating and immersion in chemical baths
Annuitant Person receiving an annual income or pension, the person concerned does not work and may never have done.
Apprentice Trainee bound to learn a craft or trade for a set number of years
Assizor A juror
Bailie Magistrate in a Scottish Burgh
Bailiff One who guards the fishing rights on a stretch of river
Banksman Mine worker at pithead who loads coal from the cages
Bard Poet or teller of stories
Baxter Baker
Beetler Textile mill worker operating a beetling machine to emboss fabric
Blaxter Bleacher of cloth
Bleacher Mill worker who whitened textiles, or paper
Blockcutter Person who hand-carves wooden blocks used for printing
Blockmaker A trader, broker
Blockprinter Person who prints on paper or cloth with carved wooden blocks
Bobbin turner Maker of wooden bobbins and spools for textile mills
Bookmaker "Bookie" accepts gambling bets, traditionally on racing horses, dogs, fighting in various forms
Bottler One who fills bottles, often in distillery
Border A smallholder
Bowman A sub-tenant who farms a tenant's cows for a season
Brazier Worker in brass metal
Brewster A brewer, a maker of beer
Brusher Coal miner who repaired mine passage roofs and sides
Burgess Man listed as merchant or craftsman in a town burgh - a Tradesman
Cabinetmaker Furniture maker
Callenderer Smoothed cloth or paper by passing through rollers
Candler One who makes or sells candles
Carder Prepares wool for spinning by brushing with wire pads to remove organic matter and knots
Carter Worked with horse and cart on farm or in towns
Catechist Instructor in religious doctrine
Caulker Filler of cracks more often than not in ships by sealing with tar
Cellarman Keeper of wine and spirits - in later years also included beers
Chaisemaker Carriage maker
Chandler Dealer in goods, more often than not in ship's supplies
Charwoman Cleaning woman
Chowder Seller of fish - a fishmonger
Clagger Person removing clags or dirty clots from a fleece
Clark Clerk - an alternative spelling
Cloth Lapper Driver of coach and horses
Coal Trimmer Person who stabilised coal-carrying barges/ships
Cobbler Maker or repairer of shoes
Collier Coal miner, usually a coal face worker
Colourman Mixer of dyes in textile trade
Colporteur Travelling book seller
Compositor Person who sets up type for printing
Cooper Maker of barrels and casks, often for distillers
Cordiner / Cordwainer Maker of fine leather shoes and boots. Can also refer to a worker in goatskin who made the finest gloves
Costermonger Street seller of apples, other fruit and vegetables
Cottar Tenant with only a cottage and maybe enough land to feed themselves
Cow-feeder Tenant of small farm with dairy cows
Cowper Maker of cups
Crofter Tenant of farm and cottage (croft), usually in Highlands and Islands.
Currier A curer or tanner of hides
Custumer Custom-house official
Cutter One who cuts the cloth for a tailor
Dexter Dyer
Diker or Dyker Builder of dry stone walls
Docker Worker at docks who loads and unloads ships cargo
Domestic Servant (Dom. Serv. ) A household worker
Dominie School teacher
Draper Dealer in fabrics and sewing materials
Drawer Mine worker pushing or dragging coal carts

1. Surgeon's assistant
2. Worker in quarry cutting rocks to shape e.g. slates. 3. Can also refer to a man or woman who dresses the Royals, Landed Gentry and well-to-do

Drover Cattle dealer and mover of livestock. There are many Drover Roads in Scotland and between the Scottish Borders and England
Drayman Cart driver of a long cart without sides
Drysalter Dealer in pickles, dried or tinned meats, and sauces
Dustman Lifted street litter and domestic rubbish ( see 'scavenger' )
Dyker Builder of dry stone walls
Exciseman Collector of taxes
Factor Estate agent for landowner, collector of rents. A middleman between two parties.
Farm servant Farm worker who was contracted to work for a farmer
Farrier Blacksmith who shoes horses
Fencible Soldier recruited at times of war, a militiaman
Fireman 1. Person in charge of a furnace, e.g.. on a train, ship or foundry
2. A fire fighter
Fish curer Dried and salted fish for transport in barrels
Fishwife Woman who carried and sold fresh fish from door to door.
Fitter Assembled wooden or metal parts , or machinery
Ferry-louper An Orkney name for incomer from mainland
Feuar Landholder under feudal system paid a feu (fee) to the overlord/ landowner
Flaxman One who deals in flax
Fleshmonger / Flesher A butcher or one who worked in a tannery
Fletcher A maker of arrows (an arrowsmith)
French Polisher A craftsman who uses sandpaper and oils to bring wooden furniture to a glass-like shine.
Fruictman One who sells fruit
Furnaceman Attended to furnace, often in metal a works
Gaberlunzie A beggar
Gamekeeper A guard and breeder of wild game (pheasants etc) on an estate
Ganger Gangsman leading a gang or squad of men
Gangrel Vagrant or tramp
Gaoler Jailer
Guager Excise officer
General Labourer (Gen. Lab) General labourer, one who can work in various industries doing general manual tasks
Ghillie Highland guard of wild game, especially deer
Girnalman In charge of meal store or granary
Glover Maker of gloves
Granger Keeper of grain store (granary)
Grieve Factor, collector of farming rents. Can also refer to the foreman or supervisor on a farm
Groom Responsible for looking after the horses on an estate
H.L.W. (a common abbrev.) Hand loom weaver
Haberdasher Seller of small clothing wares and sewing materials
Hackler / Heckler Lint dresser who separated the coarse flax with a toothed hackle
Heritor Landholder in a parish
Hammerman Metal worker, a smith
Hatter Maker of hats, a milliner
Hawker Pedlar, seller of small goods from door to door
Hecklemaker Maker of flax combs for use by heckler/hackler
Herd Shepherd
Hetheleder A person who sold heather as a source of fuel
Hewer Miner underground working the coal face
Hind Farm servant
Hosier Seller of long wool or silk stockings
Hostler / Ostler One who looks after horses at an inn
Hooper Maker of hoops for barrels
Howdywife Midwife
Iron Miner Miner of ironstone rock used in the production of pig iron
Iron Moulder Iron worker who poured molten iron from furnace into moulds
Jackman Attendant or man-at-arms, for a nobleman or landowner
Japanner Applied black gloss lacquer to furniture
J.P. (abbrev.) Justice of the Peace
Jobbing man Employed for a variety of small jobs or tasks
Joiner A wood worker, a carpenter
Journeyman 1. Qualified tradesman, apprenticeship served
2. Also a man who was employed by the day
Kirk-master Deacon in a church
Kish maker Maker of woven willow baskets
Laird Rural estate landowner, usually in the Highlands
Lamplighter Employed to light the gas street lamps in Victorian cities
Lathsplitter Prepared thins strips of wood (laths) for nailing to walls and ceilings as a base to spread plaster over
Laundress Washerwoman for clothes
Lawrightman Determined local weights & measures, and land tax
Leerie Another name for a lamplighter
Lengthsman Railway worker responsible for maintaining a length of rail track
Limmer 1. Thief or scoundrel
2. Artist who decorates manuscripts
Lineator Surveyor or measurer
Litster Dyer of cloth
Lorimer Maker of metal horse harnesses
Lotter Made up odd lots of wool and put them in batches for sale
Maltster Preparer of malt for brewing
Mariner Seaman, usually in merchant navy
Mason Stone cutter and layer
Master 1. Head school teacher
2. Skilled and self-employed craftsman or tradesman
Master Mariner Ship's captain
Milliner Maker of hats and female headwear
Miner Workers in mines, usually coal mines in the central regions of Scotland
Monger Seller of goods, eg iron-monger
Nailer Blacksmith maker of nails by cutting and shaping metal
Navvie A short form of the word " navigator", a worker digging out canal beds, later roads and railways.
Night Soil Carrier Person employed to remove and dispose of toilet waste
Notary Solicitor, lawyer
Orraman Spare man or odd-job man around the farm
Ostler / Hostler Hostler, one who looks after horses at an inn
Overman Supervisor in colliery checking mine and coal quality
Pattern Maker Metal pattern makers made forms and moulds for casting iron products
Pauper Person without money and means of earning a livelihood
Pedlar Seller of small goods from door to door
Pendicler Sub-tenant with some grass and arable land
Pensioner Originally meant someone receiving an Army pension after active service
Periwig-maker Maker of wigs for gentlemen
Peuterer A worker in pewter
Pirn-winder Mill worker who threaded yarn on weaving looms
Pitheadman Over-ground worker at a coal mine
Pit Roadman Mine worker preparing and repairing underground passageways
Platelayer Railway worker laying and repairing rails
Plewman / Ploughman Ploughman -Farm worker who works with horse and a plough
Pointsman Railway worker who operates rail points
Pony Driver Leading pony underground pulling coal hutches
Porter Baggage carrier; or gate keeper
Portioner Owner of land, previously divided amongst co-heirs
Post Boy Guard travelling on a mail coach
Printfield worker A mill worker who printed cloth with dyes and inks.
Procurator Lawyer or advocate
Procurator-Fiscal Principal public prosecutor in district
Provost Elected head of burgh council
Puddler Iron worker operating a puddling or ball furnace
Quarrier Worker in stone quarry
Railway Lengthsman Railway worker responsible for maintaining a length of rail track
Ranselman Was empowered by court to search houses for stolen property
Reidare Minor clergyman in early Church, a reader
Relict Widow
Riever Robber, originally of cattle
Rivetter Shipyard worker joining metal plates with hammered rivets
Saddler Maker and repairer of horse saddles and leathers
Sandpaperer Another name for a French Polisher
Sawbones Surgeon or physician. Is used in the Navy a greatdeal
Sawyer Worker in sawmill or timber pit
Scallag Poor male or female farm servant of a tacksman
Scavenger A"scaffie" is a dustman or street sweeper
Schoolmaster Head school teacher
Sclater Slater, a roof tiler with slates
Scrivener Writer employed to arrange contracts, prepare accounts, etc
Scullery Maid A kitchen servant
Seamstress Woman who sews, makes and mends clothes
Servitor Clerk or secretary
Sexton Layman guarding church building and vestments
Sheriff Chief officer of Crown in county
Shingler Roof tiler with wooden shingles
Shipwright Constructor and repairer of ships
Ship Master Owner or captain of a ship
Skinner Flayer of animal hides for leather
Solicitor A Lawyer
Souter Shoemaker
Slater A Roof tiler who works with slates
Smith Metal worker, more often than not refers to a blacksmith
Spinster A woman who spins textiles, is also a term for an unmarried woman
Spirit Merchant Dealer in spirits, wines and ale
Sprigger Embroiderer of fine lace and muslin, also boot and shoe finisher
Square Wright Is a carpenter
Squattie (squatter) A person with or without his family who lived on other peoples property without permission. In some places, there was a law that if they had by sunset a fire burning in a hearth with a chimney, they were allowed to stay and build a home.
Station Master A man in charge of a railway station
Steward Chief of household in a royal or noble family
Stoker Stoked fuel in to a furnace or boiler, e.g. on a ship
Stravaiger A wanderer, a vagrant
Surfaceman Laid and repaired surface of road or railway, or mine passage
Surveyor of taxes Responsible for calculating and levying taxes on property and possessions
Tacksman Farm tenant who sub-let rents or tacks
Tailzeor Tailor
Tambourer Embroiderer using hoops to hold the cloth
Tanner Curer of hides to make leather
Tenementer Tenant of dwelling in large town building, a tenement
Tenter Tuner and maintainer of power looms
Thatcher Roofer working with reeds or heather thatch
Tinker Travelling repairman , seller of pots and pans
Todman A man employed to kill foxes (tods) on an estate
Towsman Man in charge of the halyards on a fishing boat
Trencherman Cook
Turner A lathe operator, shaping wood or metal
Type-founder Printer who set out individual letters on printing blocks
Vermin Trapper A person employed to set traps and kill rats, mice, foxes, moles and other vermin
Victualler Supplier of food and provisions
Vintner Wine merchant
Wadsetter A wadset is a right, under Scottish Law, by which lands are honoured to acreditor in security of a debt
Wainwright Wagon maker
Walkster Cloth worker cleaning and thickening cloth by wetting and walking over it
Wheelwright Maker or repairer of wheels
Whig a carriage driver
Whitesmith Worker in tin and light metals
Winder Mill worker who wound the thread on weaving looms
Wright Joiner or carpenter
Writer Solicitor
Writer to the Signers (Abbrev W.S) A Solicitor
Yarn bleacher Bleacher of textile fibres, such as flax
Yarn dresser Preparer of flax fibres

© Carol Sklinar 2003 - 2004



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