Occupations & education

Occupation records reveal what kinds of people your ancestors were and how they spent their time. Trace their careers from first jobs to retirement, then go back to see how they gained their qualifications.

Latest occupation & education releases

Navy Apprentices1824-1910

In the Merchant Navy Apprentices, 1824-1910, find out whether your ancestors were among thousands of young people across Britain who started out as apprentices in the Merchant Navy. With more than 340,000 apprentice records, this collection is a great starting point to trace your seafaring ancestors’ careers and make new discoveries.

Discover crucial details such as the ports they sailed from and the ships they were on, as well as their physical descriptions and reasons for discharge. Did they stay on course or jump ship? Find out with links to other seamen records, including Master and Mates certificates and Crew Lists from Liverpool, Glasgow and Dorset.

West Yorkshire Records1627-1962

These occupation records from the county of West Yorkshire are a great place to pin down key relationships and build out your tree. If you’ve drawn a blank in our 100-plus Yorkshire collections, you could find the ancestors you’ve been searching for in these three collections including Occupation, Apprenticeship and Alehouse Records.

Find out if your ancestor served as an apprentice in our Apprenticeship Records, along with the names of their master and parents. Discover whether your great-greats worked for carpet and cotton manufacturers or boatmen in Occupation Records, right down to their favourite boozer in our Alehouse Licences.

Electrical Engineers1871-1930

Discover some of Britain's greatest minds, and find out if your ancestors are among them. These records include membership forms and lists from the Institute of Electrical Engineers.

You could find out where your relatives lived, when they joined the Institute and the jobs they did before becoming a member. Plus, see the signatures of the engineers who recommended them.

Surrey Records1696-1903

Discover the landlords who kept us in our favourite tipples. These new Surrey Records include an unusual register of Victuallers – inn or tavern keepers. Even if your ancestors weren’t in the pub trade, these records are an entertaining look into British society at this time – and even include snippets of those who frequented the taverns!

The collection also contains Surrey Freeholders’ Records, which list the men qualified to serve as jurors between 1696 and 1824. You’ll also find Surrey Land Tax Records 1780-1832, which often list both property owners and tenants, placing them in both a parish and a year.

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Occupations Key Collections

Railway Workers1833-1963

Our railway workers were the most 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.

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Postal Service Books1737-1969

Few organisations have seen more history than the British Post Office. Now you can discover the part your ancestors played in moving from messengers on horseback to bulk airmail, in our Postal Service Appointment Books.

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 they spent their working days.

London School Records1840-1911

These records of over a million students from 843 different schools offer a rare opportunity to discover your ancestors as children. Do your homework properly, and you’ll find their birth dates, when they started school and their parents’ names and occupations.

Students appear every time they started a new school, or left one. Until 1918, when education became compulsory for under–14s, you’ll find many were forced to leave early to help support poor families.

All our occupations & education collections




Search all our occupations records