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Germanic Genealogy

Vocabulary for Finding Your Germanic Roots

Part 3: Old Occupations A-B-C

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Previous sections of our German Genealogical Glossary covered first and last names, plus general vocabulary related to Germanic genealogy and related resources. In this section you'll find a German-to-English glossary of common professions found in old Germanic family-history documents (marriage licenses, birth/death certificates).


OLD OCCUPATIONS/PROFESSIONS: A-B-C
A German-English glossary of German words referring to occupations and professions (Berufe) common in former times. Most of these words will not be found in modern German dictionaries.

Alte Berufe: A
Aalrep/Ahlrep eel fisherman (who uses an Aalreif to catch them)
Ackerknecht farm hand (in service to the farmer)
Ackermann farmer (in service to the lord of the manor)
Ader/Aderlasser barber (Barbier) who did bloodletting from veins (Ader)
Altwender tailor or old clothes merchant
Ammann an official, clerk
Aschenbrenner charcoal maker (for glass-making)
Asenmacher frame-maker (Rahmenmacher)
Auer clock maker (Uhrmacher)

Alte Berufe: B
Backmann baker (Bäcker)
Balbierer barber
Barbier barber
Bauer farmer, peasant
Baumeister estate owner; supervisor; architect (modern meaning)
Beseher lower customs official
Besemer broom maker, broom seller
Beutler bag or glove maker
Bierspünder beer tester, taster
Binder cooper or house painter
Bolzdreher crossbow bolt maker
Borngräber well digger
Böttcher cooper
Bletzer cobbler, shoe repairman
Bubenmeister school teacher
Büttner cooper

Alte Berufe: C
Caffamacher satin weaver
Clausurmacher latch or belt maker
Conterfeiter portrait artist
Creutzschmied swordsmith (for dagger or sword handles)

NOTE: Older German documents are usually written in the old Sütterlin script that is difficult even for contemporary Germans to decipher and you may need help, even if you can read German. (See the article German Roots: A Personal Search for sample documents in Sütterlin.)

NEXT > Alte Berufe: D-E-F

MORE > Current Occupations - Berufe - Lesson 14 of German for Beginners

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WEB > Alte Berufsbezeichnungen (Ahnenforschung Andreas Karsten, in German only)


Related Pages

Genealogical Vocabulary - Part One
German names, first and last.

German Roots: A Personal Search
The true account of one family's search for genealogy records in a small German town—with sample documents, photographs and more.

German Typefaces: The Battle Between Antiqua and Fraktur
All about the history and uses of German "Gothic" type (Fraktur). This is a typeface frequently seen in old German documents. With examples.

Germanic Genealogy: Contents
All of the genealogy pages for German.

Germanic Surname Lexikon
Germanic surnames with their English meanings.

From Hamburg to Amerika
The Hamburg State Archive is putting emigrant passenger lists online.

English-German Glossaries
All of our vocabulary lists—by category.

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