Occupational records can give good insight on the working life of your ancestors. If your ancestor was in politics, the military, or in a position of power, chances are you can find detailed records on them. However, if your ancestor wasn\’t, you might have to be a little more creative in finding records. This post I\’m going to steer you to some sources that go beyond looking at a business directory.
- Polk\’s dental register and directory of the United States and Canada, 1925 : complete index of dentists, alphabetically arranged
- Shipping literature of the Great Lakes : a catalog of company publications, 1852-1990, compiled by Le Roy Barnett
- Ogilvie in Canada : pioneer millers, 1801-195, by G.R. Stevens
- Clock & watchmakers and allied workers in Canada, 1700 to 1900, by John E. Langdon
The LAC has records pertaining to employment in their holdings. You can access their information page here.
Alternatively, you can also use the Archives Search. Try typing in an occupation, and see what comes up. I used the search term \”salesmen\”. and got 71 hits. Among the results were:
- \”Volume 2 / Alberta Brotherhood of Dairy Employees & Driver Salesmen, Alberta.\”.
- Nasmith, Fennell & Porter – Toronto, Ontario – Fraudulent operations of certain stock salesmen re Manufacturers Finance Corporation Ltd.
- Bond Salesmen\’s Ordinance – NWT.
Provincial and Local Archives
If your ancestor worked for a company that had ties to the local history of the area, check the local or provincial archive. For instance, when I looked at the Provincial Archives of Alberta\’s website, I used the search term \”butcher\”. Among their holdings are several photographs of butcher shops from the 1920s and 1930s. These butcher shops are from around the province. While it may not give you specific details of your ancestor, how great would it be to have a picture of where they worked?
I looked at the Halifax Municipal Archives\’ website and searched using \”transit\”. Among their holdings are the Dartmouth Ferry Commission Records. I saw among the collection staff reports and engineer log books.
Contact the Company
If the company your ancestor worked for is still in existence, why not contact the company? Even if they don\’t have a company archive, they might steer you toward where historical records might be kept.
Have you come across a source for looking at employment records? let us know what it is in te comments below.