Business Unusual

By Lauren Eisenstodt Premium

So your ancestor was an axle tree maker — what does that mean? Use this glossary to translate your kin’s archaic occupations. For more career guidance, consult A Dictionary of Old Trades, Titles and Occupations by Colin Waters (Countryside Books), Old Occupations Explained <> and A List of Occupations <>.

accomptant: accountant

amanuensis: secretary or stenographer

axle tree maker: maker of axles for coaches and wagons

baxter: baker

bluestocking: female writer

brewster: beer manufacturer

cohen: priest

collier: coal miner

costermonger: fruit seller

gaoler: jailer

hind: farm laborer

joyner/joiner: skilled carpenter

lavender: washer woman

leech/sawbones: physician

peruker: wigmaker
slopseller: seller of ready-made clothes

snobscat: shoe repairer

tide waiter: customs official

tipstaff: policeman

vulcan: blacksmith
webster: weaver

whitewing: street sweeper

From the April 2005 Family Tree Magazine