Dictionary / Glossary

This is a list of terms and symbols that you may see when researching that were common at the time, but no-so-common now.  Please let me know if you additions or clarifications for these definitions!

Old-Style Handwriting

  • Backwards lower-case 'f' - This is an 's'.  You may see an 's' with a backwards lower-case 'f' together and this is a double 's'.
  • Word starting with two lower-case 'ff' - This is a Capital 'F'

Occupations

  • Baxter - Baker.
  • Bleacher - Works in textile or paper mill (bleaching).
  • Brazier - Works with brass.
  • Brewster - Beer manufacturer.
  • Candler - Makes and/or sells candles.
  • Carter - Person who carries things in a Cart; Worked with cart on farm or in town.
  • Cartwright - Makes/Repairs horse-drawn carts.
  • Chandler - Dealer or trader.
  • Clerk - Clergyman; Cleric.
  • Combmaker - Makes combs for textiles; Makes combs for hair.
  • Cordwainer - Shoemaker.
  • Crowner - Coroner.
  • Cutter - Cuts cloth for a tailor.
  • Draper - Dry goods dealer; Dealer in fabric and sewing materials.
  • Dresser - Surgeon's assistant.
  • Flesher - Butcher.
  • Glazier - Window glassman.
  • Hacker - Hoe maker.
  • Hatter - Person who makes hats.
  • Holster - Tends to horses, often at an Inn.
  • Huckster - Sells small wares.
  • Jagger - Fish peddler.
  • Kempster - Wool comber.
  • Malster - Brewer.
  • Mason - Bricklayer.
  • Millwright - Mechanic.
  • Nailer - Blacksmith who makes nails.
  • Porter - Baggage carrier; Door keeper.
  • Puddler - Works in a puddling or ball furnace where cast iron is turned into wrought iron
  • Quarrier - Works in stone quarry.
  • Roper - Maker of rope and/or nets.
  • Saddler - Makes/repairs/sells saddles and other horse accessories.
  • Sawyer - Carpenter.
  • Squire - Farm owner; Justice of Peace.
  • Tanner - One who cures animal hide into leather.
  • Wainwright - Wagon maker.
  • Wheelwright - One who repairs wheels (carriage).
  • Yeoman - Farmer who owns his land.

Other Terms

  • Esq. or Esqr. - Esquire. Written after the name of those considered entitled to the designation (lawyer and other professionals); a mark of respect.
  • Relict - Widow.
  • Spinster - Unmarried woman.
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