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Please tell us the name of your ancestors occupations' below, if you have a description of the occupation please include that aswell.

So far we have;

  • Flax Scutcher - someone involved in the processing of flax for spinning
  • Bellows Maker - making and repairing bellows mostly for use by a blacksmith
  • Higgler and Hawker - both a type of peddler
  • Whipper In - the person who managed the hounds at a hunt
  • Job Master - supplier of hired carriages and horses
  • Ostler - a person who looked after horses
  • Pinner - Someone who makes pin
  • Lum Swopper -  chimney sweeper
  • Pot Man/Boy - someone in charge of washing dirty pots
  • Platelayer - involved in laying down of railway tracks

To read our article click here

IrelandXO Moderator DC

Wednesday 5th Jan 2022, 12:17PM

Message Board Replies

  • Denise:

    These two occupations do not apply to my farmer ancestors but from reviewing many census records I frequently come across these occupations:

    milesman- a railway employee responsible for maintenance of a defined length of railway track.

    victualler-someone who provides food/drink



    Castlemore Roscommon, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Wednesday 5th Jan 2022, 05:50PM
  • Thanks Roger, I will add these to our list ahead of publication.


    IrelandXO Moderator DC

    Thursday 6th Jan 2022, 04:36PM
  • My Great-Grandfather was a milesman and a miner. 


    Saturday 8th Jan 2022, 11:33PM
  • My materanl grandfather, James Quin, drove the Killybegs train until his death in the late 1930s. I would love to get the records of his employment.  He went to Scotland to train in tarins as a teenager. His only photo is in studio as an old man.



    Pat Reilly

    Sunday 9th Jan 2022, 12:22AM
  • My great grandfather's occupation was given as "seller of byastoria" on my grandmother's birth certificate. On other of his children's birth certificates it varied from "jeweller" to "fancy warehouse keeper". His shop was at 121 George (now O'Connell) St, Limerick. On my last visit to Limerick a century later, the same address housed McMahons Footwear Specialists, Stockists of Furs, Suedes & Sheepskins.

    John James, Perth, Western Australia


    Sunday 9th Jan 2022, 12:37AM
  • in 1856, my paternal great great grandfather, thomas mcmahon, was described as a fishmonger on his daughter, ellen mcmahon's marriage register entry at st paul's, arran quay, dublin.

    GE Brown

    Sunday 9th Jan 2022, 01:05AM
  • Most of my husband's Irish ancestors were farmers, but I also have the following:

    Ephraim Kelso (born 1780) GGGrandfather ........Stone Mason

    Alexander Kelso (born 1806) GGrandfather ........Stone Mason

    William Kelso (born 1854) Grandfather ................Manager of Linen Factory

    William Vint (born 1797) GGGrandfather ..............Publican

    William Green (GGGrandfather) ...........................Shopkeeper

    William Potts (born 1864) Grandfather .................Veterinary Surgeon

    No wonder my husband was named William !!!!!!!!!



    Alison Kelso

    Sunday 9th Jan 2022, 02:56AM
  • My 4 great grandfather , Caesar Fanning , was a Paper Stainer with residence in Cork where he was born in 1748. Paper Staining was a licensed trade for the production of printed wall paper that became popular in the 18th century. Prior to that printed wall paper was only affordable to the wealthy having been imported from France and China in particular. With the early Paper Stainers setting up buisness in London , the trade spread throughout Britain and Ireland. Printing was done by hand using carved wooden blocks on sheets of paper to create patterns and colour combinations with firms also often providing a hanging service for their customers. Until 1836 each paper sheet was subject to tax. This traditional trade was eventually rendered obsolete by the introduction of mechanical printing machines using engraved metal plates on long paper rolls in the mid-19th century.

    Caesar Fanning's business survived for 70 odd years from approx 1770 to 1850 , in later years also offering house painting in addition to paper staining , with at least two family generations carrying on the business. A notice placed in the Cork Evening Post of 30th April 1773 by Caesar Fanning advertises his " Stamp'd paper manufactory on the Mall ". The Council Book of the Corporation of Cork (1610-1800) has the following reference : " Caesar Fanning , paper stainer , paid by the corporation for supplying paper for the mansion house , January 8th 1778 ". O'Kief , Cosh Mainge's transcripts of Registry of Deeds , baronies of Duhallow and Muskerry , Co. Cork (1708-1860) records " 857/22 , Edmund Sullivan of Greenfield , Co. Cork , sells to Caesar Fanning of Cork City , paper stainer , the half ploughland of South Rathleigh in Muskerry , 9th March 1830 ". Holden's Triennial Directory , 4th edition , covering 1805 - 1807 lists " Fanning Caesar , stained paper manufacturer , Patrick Street ". The Cork Directory by W. West for 1809 - 1810 under " Gentry - Merchants - Traders " shows " Fanning C. Paper-hanging manufacturer , Patrick Street ". A late reference to the business is in Aldwell's General Post Office Directory for Cork City 1845 which lists " Fanning John and Caesar Paper Stainers and House Painters , 23 Patrick Street ". The last reference I can find for the business is in Griffith's Valuation of 1852 which states that John and Caesar Fanning hold offices and a yard at 12 Morgan Street , Cork , as tenants as well as a house and yard at 23 Patrick Street as tenants. The John and Caesar referenced from 1845 are likely sons of Caesar Fanning senior who carried on the business.



    Sunday 9th Jan 2022, 04:14AM
  • Dear Friends:  My paternal Great-Great Grandfather, Christopher Hamilton Irwin (born County Tyrone 1821, emigrated to Canada 1847 with wife Jane (nee McCutcheon) and their then-born three children, listed his occupation on a Canadian census as "Cooper" - a barrel-maker.



    Sunday 9th Jan 2022, 05:43AM
  • My 2 times great grandfather William Hall was a Scripture Reader I think in and around Dublin in 1840's



    Sunday 9th Jan 2022, 06:59AM
  • My GGF Timothy Kelleher (b 1866) was a carpenter in the North Cork area -travelled miles on his bike to do jobs. 


    Sunday 9th Jan 2022, 10:19AM
  • An ancestor of mine was described as a "lastmaker" He emigrated to New Brunswick in the early 1840s and continued his trade there until he moved to Boston.   

    John. J. IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Sunday 9th Jan 2022, 11:24AM

    Hi Denise

    My wife's Great Grandfather David O'Sullivan b. 1870 was a Mineral Water Maker in Fermoy. He had is own business but that went bust around the First World War. 




    Derek M

    Sunday 9th Jan 2022, 01:48PM
  • My Ancestor, William Blair, was born c1780 @ Cty Armagh.  He was a farmer and a weaver.  He was left handed and a Quaker and attended Quaker meetings at Kilmore Parish at the town of Richhill.  He lived at Shewis/Suez farm at one time and at Mulladry Cottage at Mulladry other times.  He wove linen cloth for the Richardson family.  In 1830 the family emigrated to Quebec Canada.  He had married Mary Heuston in 1820 and their (eventually) 12 children spread out across Quebec and Ontario and their families flourished.  I am slowly connecting to relatives all over the place.  There are descendants still living on the same Quebec farm and today they produce a wonderful maple syrup product.

    Sher at Bowmanville, Ontario.


    Sunday 9th Jan 2022, 02:00PM
  • My ancestor, Lawrence McNamara1822-8 Mar 1897, lived near the Shannon River in Mt. Pleasant, Co. Limerick. When the British kept taking land, the McNamaras took to their boats and turned to dredging//raking  seaweed from the river. They would then sell the seaweed to farmers along the river for use as fertilizer. The wet seaweed was heavy so it was an arduous task. 


    Sunday 9th Jan 2022, 02:11PM
  • John Dunn was a Draper. His business, which burned to the ground in 1845, was on High Street in Kilkenny, Ireland ("The Statesman and Christian Record" - Porvincial Intelligence section, October 3, 1845, Dublin, Republic of Ireland.) 3rd great grandfather.


    Sunday 9th Jan 2022, 02:22PM
  • John Dunn was a Draper. His business, which burned to the ground in 1845, was on High Street in Kilkenny, Ireland ("The Statesman and Christian Record" - Porvincial Intelligence section, October 3, 1845, Dublin, Republic of Ireland.) 3rd great grandfather.


    Sunday 9th Jan 2022, 02:22PM
  • My ancestor, John Kehoe, b. Nov. 19, 1829 (as per his own statement found in a historical atlas for the County of Lambton in Ontario, Canada) in Co. Wexford, joined the Irish Constabulary on the 24 Nov 1847. He was stationed in Co. Kilkenny until April 1851 when he emigrated via New York, USA to Canada. He married an Irish girl named Bridget Duffy (who had emigrated to Canada in the 1840s) and became a farmer in Canada.  Source of image:

    Ireland, Royal Irish Constabulary service records 1816-1922 Transcription

    Print transcription View image

    First name(s) Jno

    Last name Kehoe

    Age 19

    Birth year -

    Service number 9400

    Event year 1847

    Place Wexford

    Religion Roman Catholic

    Appointment date 24 Nov 1847

    Service ended date 15 Apr 1851

    Emigrated Y

    Document type General register - numbers 8001-10000

    Archive The National Archives

    Series HO184

    Piece number 5

    Piece year range 1846-1847

    Record set Ireland, Royal Irish Constabulary service records 1816-1922

    Category Education & work

    Subcategory Occupations

    Collections from Ireland

    Brian R Anderson

    Sunday 9th Jan 2022, 02:29PM
  • My great-great grandfather, Michael Caveney, was a blacksmith or smithy. He I believe lived in Kiltullagh, Co Roscommon. His son, my great-grandfather, Michael Patrick Caveney, emigrated to the UK, although I don't know in what year. In Manchester he met and married my great-grandmother, Ellen Cosgrove in 1882, at which time his father was listed as "deceased" on the marriage certificate. Michael Patrick was listed as "Pavior", which I think in a term for a road labourer? There is a photo on this website, of my great-grandfather, Michael Patrick, standing in front of the ruins of the forge. The picture was taken by my grandfather, Michael John Caveney, when he took his father back to his native village in either 1921 or 1931, as the second last digit of the date is illegible.

    Mairéad Caveney


    Sunday 9th Jan 2022, 03:32PM
  • My great Uncle from counyy Cavan was the village thatcher. Fortunately, I have a photo of him finishing a roof of a neighbor.

    Jim Coyle

    Sunday 9th Jan 2022, 06:00PM
  • My Grandfather was a Cooper in Belfast, and my father was also a Cooper both in Ireland and Scotland.


    Sunday 9th Jan 2022, 11:46PM
  • My ancestors, I believe were involved in the war's in Ireland during the 17th century.
    Sir George Flower, 1550 - 1636 ; Sir William Flower, 1612 - 1681 - born in Chepstow, Wales.
    Both of the above ancestors above were part of the Flower family of Castle Durrow, in Ireland.
    Most Sincerely,
    Patrick Flower

    Monday 10th Jan 2022, 01:27AM
  • On my mother's side, my 3 times great grandfather, Stephen Dalton (b 1802) , was also a Scripture Reader (as was Irwin's 2 times great grandfather) located in County Galway, Oakley Park and then Dublin. He followed his children to Australia in 1856 and became a school teacher and postmaster in the Bendigo area.

    His wife's father, William Anderson, was a captian in the royal navy. Not the only William Anderson to have that title but I have not been able to track down the one of interest to me.

    On my father's side, the father (Edward Fawcett) of my great grand mother, Maria Fawcett (b 1833 in County Wicklow), was a Steward, according to her marriage certificate. She must have migrated to Australia as she was married in central Victoria in 1857. I don't know the precise role of a Steward.


    Monday 10th Jan 2022, 06:49AM
  • County Down, near Donaghadee - my great grandmother, Maggie Dunbar Reid, was an embroiderer.  There were quite a few embroiderers in her area in the 1911 census.


    Monday 10th Jan 2022, 05:06PM
  • My several Greats Grandfather John Bowles was a peruke maker in a small town in co. Laois (then Queens county) in 1740. I don't suppose there was much market for those white powdered wigs of the gentry in rural Laois as he re-applied his leather working skills as a shoemaker a few years later.


    Tuesday 11th Jan 2022, 04:38AM
  • My grandfather Michael Butler is listed in the census as a confectioner. He was from Kilrush County Clare.I think they sold their produce but I have only seen part of the brick wall of a shop or stall.

    Sheila Butler

    Tuesday 11th Jan 2022, 10:30AM
  • Paula Mac mentioned coopers in her family. My gr gr grandfather, Thomas Clark from Cavan was a cooper. He immigrated to theState  of Maryland to continue as that. His son, Thomas, also became a cooper. I think the work continue but, with mechanization, the term declined.

    Jim Coyle

    Tuesday 11th Jan 2022, 08:33PM
  • My ancestor Michael Roche from Doneraile was listed as a Car Man in 1827.

    A car man would have driven or worked with a horse and cart for agricultural or general transport or delivery work.

    I also found a John Roche from Doneraile listed as a car man in1830, but I can't find a connection to Michael. Although one of Michael's sons was named John.

    Robert Roche


    Wednesday 12th Jan 2022, 12:26AM
  • My Ancestor Edward Joyce is listed as Supervisor of Excise on his Daughter's (Mary Anne Joyce) death Certificate. He is listed as being from Strabane.


    Sunday 23rd Jan 2022, 02:43AM
  • My great-grandfather, John Smith, from County Leitrim, emigrated to Boston, Massachusetts in 1881. For the rest of his days, he worked in the shoe making industry. Family lore says he was pulled out of retirement during WWII to make boots for U.S. Army officers, since he was one of the few left who knew how to make them by hand. There could be some truth to this, as he applied for a Social Security account when he was 81 years old! 

    Maureen Keillor

    Sunday 23rd Jan 2022, 03:56PM
  • It's an amazing coincidence that the article mentions a coachman at a big house at Killererin in Galway. My great great grandfather, Martin McLoughlin, was that coachman in 1871. His daughter Bridget was born there on June 17, 1871. Her mother was Mary (O'Gorman) McLoughlin. 

    Martin worked as a groom and coachmen between Hollymount and Newmarket-on-Fergus during the 1860s and 1870s, before becoming a horse dealer in Dalkey in the 1880s. Much of the family then moved to Aldershot, England, where he was in the horse dealing business associated with the Army. He died in Canada in 1908. Mary died in Aldershot in 1894 and Bridget died in London in the 1950s. 

    Aside from Fenloe House and the Hickmans in Newmarket, I do not know whose houses Martin worked for when he was doing that work, but would love to have more detail on where he might have worked. 


    Tuesday 1st Mar 2022, 04:38PM
  • My Great, Great, Great Grandfather, Eugene Daly, was a carpenter and I believe lived in Castletownshend. That is all I know about him. It was recorded on his son's marriage certificate in Plymouth, Devon.   Kathryn Knight (nee Daly)




    Sunday 6th Mar 2022, 10:19AM

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