Occupation Abbreviations

In my day job as a software engineer I live in a world of abbreviations, HTTP, SSL, TCP, FTP, HTML, BPM, XML, DNS.

So therefore I should be happy working with abbreviations that I see in the 1841 census records. In later census returns, occupations were written out in full by the enumerators, but in 1841 they were instructed to use abbreviations and provided with an official list in the front pages of the enumerator booklets. However, other abbreviations are seen which were not provided in their official list.

Occupation Abbreviations

I found some abbreviations that set me off searching for a longer list. In my tree there are three sisters living together, who in later years are Knitters or Paupers, varyingly. In 1841, two of them are recorded with an occupation of ‘P.’ and the third has ‘P.P.’

There are a number of lists online of what these abbreviations mean, but no one complete list so I thought I’d try to create one here, recording also where I’ve found the meaning of the abbreviations. Please feel free to send me others that I may have missed.

From what I’ve seen, I’m guessing these three sisters were Paupers, and in one case a Parish Pauper.

Abbreviation Meaning Source
Ag.Lab. Agricultural Labourer 1841 Scottish Census Enumeration Booklet
A.
Ap.
Apprentice FreeCEN Scotland
1841 Scottish Census Enumeration Booklet
Army H.P. Army Half Pay 1841 Scottish Census Enumeration Booklet
Army P. Army Pensioner 1841 Scottish Census Enumeration Booklet
B.S. Blacksmith FreeCEN Scotland
Cal.Prin. Calico Printer 1841 Scottish Census Enumeration Booklet
Cl. Clerk 1841 Scottish Census Enumeration Booklet
F.W.K. Framework knitter GenealogyInTime Magazine
F.C. Fisherman & Crofter See Uncommon abbreviation for a common occupation
F.&F. Fisherman & Farmer Seen in many Unst census returns
H.L.W. Hand Loom Weavers 1841 Scottish Census Enumeration Booklet
Ind. Independent Means 1841 Scottish Census Enumeration Booklet
J. Journeyman 1841 Scottish Census Enumeration Booklet
M.S. Male Servant 1841 Scottish Census Enumeration Booklet
F.S. Female Servant 1841 Scottish Census Enumeration Booklet
m. Maker 1841 Scottish Census Enumeration Booklet
Manf. Manufacturer 1841 Scottish Census Enumeration Booklet
Mer.S. Merchant Seaman 1841 Scottish Census Enumeration Booklet
M. Miners 1841 Scottish Census Enumeration Booklet
Navy H.P. Navy Half Pay 1841 Scottish Census Enumeration Booklet
Navy P. Navy Pensioner 1841 Scottish Census Enumeration Booklet
P.L.W. Power Loom Weavers 1841 Scottish Census Enumeration Booklet
B.S. Blacksmith FreeCEN Scotland
P.Pauper. Parish Pauper GENUKI
Serv. Servant GENUKI
Sho. Shopman 1841 Scottish Census Enumeration Booklet
Sp.Deal. Spirit Dealers 1841 Scottish Census Enumeration Booklet
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2 thoughts on “Occupation Abbreviations

  1. My ancestor, Robert Sinclair of Lance, Lunnasting, was recorded in the 1841 census as S F & F. Sounds like “science fiction and fantasy”, but I don’t think crofters were into that. It puzzled me until I saw that his brother Leslie of “Lunister” was a Sm Far & Fish, which I’m guessing is “small farmer and fisherman”.

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