Ireland Occupations

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Knowing your ancestor's occupation may help you distinguish him or her from other individuals with the same name. Moreover, records associated with your ancestor's occupation may provide information about your ancestor's life and family. Some Irish occupational sources include:

  • Records of freemen (businessmen who had special privileges, such as the right to vote), which are useful because they may list age, birthplace, parentage, and occupation.
  • Service records of the Royal Irish Constabulary (a national police force), which provide each constable's name, age when appointed, native county, religion, physical description, and employment history. If a constable was married, information about his wife and children may also be included. The records are indexed and list several thousand men employed by the constabulary from 1816 to 1922.
  • Alumni and member biographical sketches, which are often published by Irish, English, and Scottish schools and universities that train people for professional occupations (such as medicine, law, and theology). For more information on these sources, see the "Schools" section of this outline.
  • Military records, which contain information about Irish who pursued careers in the armed services. For more information on these records, see the "Military Records" section of this outline.

For a listing of various occupations, the records about them, and the repositories where the records are kept, see:

  • Falley, Margaret Dickson. Irish and Scotch-Irish Ancestral Research. 2 vols. Evanston, Illinois: Margaret Dickson Falley, 1961-62. (FHL book Ref 941.5 D27f 2 vols.)
  • Grenham, John. "Occupations." Tracing Your Irish Ancestors: The Complete Guide. Dublin, Ireland: Gill and Macmillan, 1992. (FHL book Ref 941.5 D27gj.)
  • Hayes, Richard J. Manuscript Sources for the History of Irish Civilization, the subject indexes. (FHL book 941.5 A5h.)

For a definition of an occupation, see the Oxford English Dictionary.

To locate Irish occupational sources available at the Family History Library, look in the Place Search of the catalog under the following headings:





Because English guild records sometimes list Irish people, also look under ENGLAND, LONDON - OCCUPATIONS or request information from guild records held at the Guildhall Library:

Guildhall Library
London EC2P 2EJ