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Ever wonder what your surname means? In the olden days men were often called by what they did as an occupation, hence a hunter might be called Joseph the Hunter. His son might later be known as Hunter’s son or Hunterson (Henderson). The moniker, Mister (Mr.) was usually reserved for men of importance, not for every man as it is used today. A community’s “Misters” were likely the schoolmaster, the pastor, and anyone else that was literate or had significant social standing. Here are a few names of men that readily come to mind. Perhaps yours is among them.

    • Carder or Carter: A tradesman that uses a wire brush to straighten tangles fibers, e.g. wool, cotton, flax, hemp.
    • Chandler: One who makes or sells candles; a retailer of specific goods, a ship’s chandler.
    • Cooper: A tradesman named after his occupation, barrel making.
    • Collier: A tradesman named after his occupation, coal hauling or shoveling.
    • Cartwright: A tradesman named after his occupation, a maker of carts or wagons.
    • Draper: A tradesman named after his occupation, cloth merchant.
    • Ford: A tradesman named after the service he provides, river crossing.
    • Fuller: A tradesman that gathers folds in cloth garments.
    • Glazier: A tradesman named after his occupation, installing glass into windows and doors.
    • Hackney: A tradesman who drives a coach; today we call them taxis.
    • Hanger: A tradesman named after his occupation, wallpaper hanger.
    • Hunter: A tradesman named after his occupation, hunting.
    • Miller: A tradesman named after his occupation, milling grain for bread.
    • Porter: A tradesman named after his occupation, carrying.
    • Saddler: A tradesman named after his occupation, making saddles.
    • Sawyer: A tradesman named after his occupation, one who saws wood.
    • Sexton: A blue collar employee of a church charged with ringing the bells, daily upkeep, and sometimes grave digging.
    • Shipwright: A maker of ships.
    • Skinner: A tradesman named after his occupation, skinning animals.
    • Smith: A tradesman who fashions a product from raw materials, e.g. blacksmith (steel), silversmith, etc.
    • Tanner: A tradesman named after his occupation, tanning animal hides.
    • Taylor: A tradesman named after his occupation, maker of clothes.
    • Turner: A tradesman who turns wood or metal on a lathe, e.g. table legs, spokes, spindles, etc.
    • Verger: One who carries the verge or other emblem of authority before a scholastic, legal, or religious dignitary in a procession.
    • Weaver: A tradesman named after his occupation, the weaving of textiles.
    • Wheeler: A tradesman named after his occupation, a maker of wheels for carts or wagons.