@2009 - Sue Ashby                                                                       Updated: 08/18/2011             


 Some definitions of those funny, old  words, in ancient times, some of which became surnames.


Accomptant Accountant
Almoner Giver of charity to the needy
Amanuensis Secretary or Stenographer
Artificer A soldier mechanic who makes repairs
Bailie Bailiff - keeper of the jail
Baxter Baker
Bluestocking Female writer-supporter of feminist causes
Boniface Keeper of an Inn
Brazier Worker with Brass
Brewster Beer Maker
Brightsmith Metal Worker
Burgermaster Mayor
Caulker Caulks bricks, etc.
Chaisemaker Carriage Maker
Chandler Candle Maker, also, Dealer or Trade, Retailer of Groceries
Chiffonnier Wig Maker
Clark Clerk
Clerk Clergyman, Cleric
Clicker Servant of a Salesman, who stood at the door to invite customers in; One who received matter in the galley from compositors and arranged it in due form, ready for printing; One who makes eyelet holes in boots, using a machine which clicked.
Cohen Priest - Judiac/Hebrew
Collier Coal Miner
Colporter Peddler of Books
Cooper One who makes or repairs vessels made of staves or hoops, as casks, barrels, tubs, etc.
Cordwainer Shoemaker, originally any leather worker using leather from Cordova/Cordoba, Spain
Costermonger Peddler of fruits and vegetables
Crocker Potter
Crowner Coroner
Currier One who dresses the coat of a horse with a curry comb; one who tanned leather by incorporating oil or grease
Docker Stevedore; dock worker who loads and unloads cargo
Dowser One who finds water using a rod or witching stick
Draper Dealer in Dry Goods
Drayman One who drives a long strong cart with fixed sides for heavey loads
Dresser Surgeon's assistant in a hospital
Drover One who drives cattle, sheep, etc. to market; a dealer in cattle
Duffer Peddler
Factor Agent; commission merchant; one who acts or transacts business for another; Scottish steward or keeper of estate
Farrier A Blacksmith who shoes horses
Faulkner Falconer, works with Falcons
Fell Monger One who removes hair or wool from hides in preparation for leather making
Fletcher One who makes bows and arrows,
Fuller One who fulls cloth; one who shrinks and thickens woolen cloth by moistening, heating and pressing; one who cleans and finishes cloth.
Gaoler Jailer; Keeper of the jail
Glazier Window Glassman
Hacker Maker of Hoes
Hatcheler One who combed out  carded flax
Haymonger Dealer in Hay
Hayward Keeper of fences
Higgler Itinerant Peddler
Hillier Roof tiler
Hind Farm Laborer
Holster Groom who took care of horses, often at an Inn
Hooker Reaper of grain who used a large wooden hook
Hooper One who made hoops for casks or barrels
Huckster Sells small wares
Husbandman A farmer who cultivates land
Jagger Fish Peddler
Journeyman One who served his apprenticeship and mastered his craft not bound by his master, but hired by day.
Joyner/Joiner A skilled Carpenter
Keeler Bargeman
Kempster Wool Comber
Lardener Keeper of the cupboard
Lavender Washer woman
Lederer Leather maker
Leech Physician
Longshoreman Stevedore
Lormer Maker of horse gear
Malender Farmer
Maltster Brewer
Manciple A steward
Mason Bricklayer
Mintmaster One who issues local currency
Monger Seller of goods (fish, ale)
Muleskinner Teamster
Neatherder Herds cows
Ordinary Keeper Innkeeper with fixed prices
Patternmaker A maker of clod shod with an iron ring. A clog was a wooden pole with a pattern cut into the end.
Peregrinator Itinerant wandere
Peruker A wig maker
Pettifogger A shyster Lawyer
Pigman Crockery dealer
Plumber One who applied sheet lead for roofing and set lead frames for plain or stained glass windows
Porter Door keeper
Puddler Wrought iron worker
Quarrier Quarry worker
Rigger Hoist tackle worker
Ripper Seller of fish
Roper Maker of rope or nets
Saddler One who makes, repairs or sells saddles or other furnishings for horses
Sawbones Physician
Sawyer One who saws: carpenter
Schumacker Shoemaker
Scribbler A minor or worthless author
Scrivener Professional or public copyist or writer; a notary public
Scrutiner Election judge
Shrieve Sheriff
Slater Roofer
Slopseller Seller of ready made clothes in a slop shop
Snobscat/Snob One who repairs shoes
Sorter Tailor
Spinster A woman who spins or an unmarried woman
Spurrier One who makes spurs
Squire Country gentleman; farm owner; justice of the peace
Stuff Gown Junior Barrister
Stuff Junior Barrister
Gownsman Officer on a merchant ship who is in charge of cargo and commercial concerns of the ship
Tanner One who tans (cures) animal hides into leather
Tapley One who puts the tap in an ale cask
Tasker Reaper
Teamster One who drives a team for a living
Thatcher Roofer
Tide Waiter Customs Inspector
Tinker Itinerant tin pot and pan seller and repairman
Tipstaff Policeman
Travers Toll Bridge Collector
Tucker Cleaner of cloth goods
Turner One who turns wood on lathe into spindles
Victualer A tavern keeper or one who provides and army, navy or ship with supplies
Vulcan Blacksmith
Wagoner Teamster, employed by company
Wainwright Wagon maker
Waiter Customs Officer or tide waiter; one who waited on the tide to collect duty on good brought in.
Waterman Boatman who plies for hire
Webster Operator of looms
Wharfinger Owner of a wharf
Wheelwright One who makes or repairs wheels; wheeled carriages, etc. Tinsmith; worker of iron who finishes or polishes the work
Whitesmith Tinsmith; worker of iron who finishes or polishes the work
Whitewing Street Sweeper
Whitster Bleacher of cloth
Wright Worker; especially a construction worker
Yeoman Farmer who owns his own land