“What do you do?” is one of the first questions we ask someone upon meeting. Our occupation defines us, showcasing our interests and illustrating how we spend our time. And just as this is true in the twenty-first century, so too was it for our ancestors (although they perhaps had less choice in the matter than we do – there likely weren’t many Uber drivers back then).
But where do you find your ancestor’s occupation? Luckily for you, it’s not too difficult. The occupation of your ancestor is almost always right before the name on a vital record, and either shortly before or after the name on a church record (I tend to see more after). For example, a vital record certificate might read “The baker Johann Schmidt…”, with baker (Bäcker) preceding the name of the person mentioned, whereas a church record might read “Johann Schmidt, baker…”.
What if an occupation looks like a really long word? This might mean there was an occupation level written after the occupation itself.