Posted by Web Operations on September 8, 2011 in Content

Butcher, baker or candlestick maker? What your ancestor did to make a living is an important part of their history and your family tree. You can discover your ancestors’ occupations with our new occupation records from Britain. You can examine your ancestors’ work in more detail and see how it affected the rest of their life.

These records are available in our UK Heritage Plus and World Heritage memberships.

British Postal Service Appointment Books, 1737-1969 

The Post Office is a British institution. Not only is it a popular part of any village community, but it’s traditionally one of the country’s biggest employers. You may discover that you have ancestors included in British Postal Service Appointment Books, 1737-1969.

These 1.4 million records reveal everything from the role each person was given to where in the country they were stationed, so you can put together a detailed picture of how your ancestor spent their working days.

Thanks to the volunteers of the Ancestry World Archives Project who helped to transcribe these crucial records. Their work is vital as we make more and more collections available online. Find out more about the Project.

Railway Employment Records, 1833-1963

British railway workers were important pioneers of the 19th century, driving the tools and ideas of the Industrial Revolution all over the country. Trace your ancestors who laid the tracks, stoked the engines and drove the trains with our Railway Employment Records.

This was Britain’s first truly mobile workforce. As well as positions and salaries, the one million records reveal your forebears’ transfers, so you can follow your family as they move around the country.

Register of Duties Paid for Apprentices’ Indentures, 1710-1811

English poet, painter and writer, William Blake was apprenticed to engraver and stationer James Basire in 1772.

Until the 19th century, young apprentices relied on their masters for food and shelter as well as their training — so their happiness depended entirely on their employer. Find out whether your ancestors endured these trying conditions with our new Apprentice Registers.

These documents were created to record a tax paid by the master. They can tell you what trade your forebear learnt, the master’s name and address and even details of the child’s parents.

Perhaps your ancestors’ occupation is similar to something you do? Let us know if you make any interesting discoveries.


  1. Jaye Gee

    My GG Grandfather worked for the New Zealand Railways in Christchurch Canterbury NZ, he was an Irish immigrant traveled to USA or Canada with his 3 brothers then came to NZ. His name is John O’Donnell b abt 1843-d 1935. His trade in the UK was a boot maker still have his shoe findings. But he ended up working for the NZL railways in West Eyrton Nth Canterbury. He married a Bridget Gilroy also from Ireland in NZ in 1876.
    Some of us O’Donnell’s & Gee’s are still trying to locate the exact house he live in in West Eyrton.
    There are a few of us who are trying to find his brothers of which we don’t know the names of, but if his children are anything to go by they might be Dennis, Terry (Tyrconnel)Hugh, or Matthew. Have his death Cert also Bridget’s but not much to go on from there. We know he fought in WW1 as his name is on the honors list of the West Eyrton Hall.
    Any information would be greatly appreciated Jaye Gee

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