Uncommon abbreviation for a common occupation

In my work with the 1841 census, I have written before about the abbreviations used to record occupations. Today I found another unknown one, ‘F.C.’ which, from what I can glean looking at the original record, was unknown to the people who totaled up the census returns.

The census was operated in two phases (at least). The enumerator went round all the houses and recorded the names and occupations of the people who resided there on the night of the 6th June. In Unst in 1841, the enumerator for district 1 was George Robertson, who was also the registrar. We know this because he signs the last page of the enumeration booklet (there were 9 enumeration districts and thus 9 booklets to cover Unst in 1841, each with a different enumerator, picked from the upstanding gentlemen of the community).

I CERTIFY and declare that the Account of the Population of the District for which I am Enumerator, contained in this Schedule, has been truly and faithfully taken by me, and that, to the best of my knowledge and belief, the same is correct, so far as may be known.
Witness my hand this seventh day of June 1841.
Geo Robertson Enumerator.

Then in the next phase, the enumeration booklets were counted up, including occupations being totaled up. You can see the ‘workings’ of these counters as they go through the booklets, because they cross off the occupations as they count them. As genealogists this can sometimes be rather annoying if it obscures what was originally written by the enumerator! The occupations were normalised to aid in this counting, which is where, in later census years, the occupation codes come from.

On this particular page of the Unst 1841 census, John Harper who is residing in Humron, is recorded by the enumerator as having an occupation of F.C. The counter clearly didn’t know what this was because it is not crossed out, suggesting it was not counted, and in the left hand side margin against this entry there is a cross and something scribbled in a different hand from the writing done by the enumerator. I cannot make out the writing, but I suspect the jist of it is to indicate an unknown occupation.

Island SunsetThe thing is, having spent quite some time now looking at the complete Unst Family Tree, I have grown very familiar with the occupations of the area. The most common male occupations recorded are ‘Fisherman’ and ‘Fisherman & Crofter’. I suspect that F.C. stands for ‘Fisherman & Crofter’. In 1841, this should have been recorded by the enumerator as ‘Fa & Fm’ – short for ‘Farmer & Fisherman’ – just as several others were recorded on the same page.

Perhaps it had been a long night!

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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
P.Pauper. Parish Pauper GENUKI
Serv. Servant GENUKI
Sho. Shopman 1841 Scottish Census Enumeration Booklet
Sp.Deal. Spirit Dealers 1841 Scottish Census Enumeration Booklet
S.T. Seasonal or Sitting Tennant Scotland’s People – Glossary