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Genealogy: Articles:

Reading French Occupations

When transcribing documents where the originator was francophone special care should be taken to accurately transcribe the occupation field.

There are some special concerns with regard to this column:

The following is a partial list of French occupations as encountered in the 1901 census of Ottawa/Carleton:

Artiste artist Avocat lawyer
Barbier barber Boucher butcher
Boulanger baker Briquetier brickmaker
Carrier quarry worker Cellier storekeeper
Charetier teamster Charpentier carpenter
Chauffeur railroad fireman or driver Cocher coachman
Colporteur commercial traveller (travelling salesman) Commis clerk
Commis de malle postal Clerk Commis-hotel hotel clerk
Commis-Marchant sales clerk Commissionaire agent
Conducteur conductor Contremaitre foreman
Cordonnier shoemaker Couturier dressmaker (male)
Couturiére dressmaker (female) Cuisinier cook (male)
Cuisinière cook (female) Electricien electrician
Épicier grocer Étudiant student
Fermier farmer Ferblantier tinsmith
Forgeron blacksmith Géologiste geologist
Hotellier hotel keeper Imprimeur printer
Ingenieur engineer Jailleur jailer
Journalier day laborer (male) Journalière day laborer (female)
Journalist newspaperman Journaliste newspaperwoman
Laveuse washwoman Libraire book seller
Machiniste machinist Marchant merchant
Masson mason Mecanicien mechanic
Menuisier joiner, cabinet maker Messager messenger
Minier miner Modiste hair dresser
Musicien musician Notaire notary
Peintre painter Pharmacien pharmacist
Platrier plasterer Plombier plumber
Postillon coachman Reparation handyman
Restauranteur restaurant owner Secretaire secretary
Servant servant (male) Servante servant (female)
Tailleur tailor Tailleuse tailoress

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Reading French Occupations

When transcribing documents where the originator was francophone special care should be taken to accurately transcribe the occupation field.

There are some special concerns with regard to this column:

  • Canadian French is not now, and never has been, the same as Parisian French. Conventional French dictionaries do not contain many of the words which were in usage quotidienne in Canada. In addition words may have different meanings in Canada than in France.
  • Particularly in a border region, like Eastern Ontario, French is frequently corrupted by English influences. For example postal clerk should be commis de malle, but an enumerator incorrectly wrote commis de maille in one case in the 1901 census, probably because of the influence of the English "mail".
  • French clerks were no better at spelling than English enumerators, except where they were either priests or notaries.

The following is a partial list of French occupations as encountered in the 1901 census of Ottawa/Carleton:

Artiste artist Avocat lawyer
Barbier barber Boucher butcher
Boulanger baker Briquetier brickmaker
Carrier quarry worker Cellier storekeeper
Charetier teamster Charpentier carpenter
Chauffeur railroad fireman or driver Cocher coachman
Colporteur commercial traveller (travelling salesman) Commis clerk
Commis de malle postal Clerk Commis-hotel hotel clerk
Commis-Marchant sales clerk Commissionaire agent
Conducteur conductor Contremaitre foreman
Cordonnier shoemaker Couturier dressmaker (male)
Couturiére dressmaker (female) Cuisinier cook (male)
Cuisinière cook (female) Electricien electrician
Épicier grocer Étudiant student
Fermier farmer Ferblantier tinsmith
Forgeron blacksmith Géologiste geologist
Hotellier hotel keeper Imprimeur printer
Ingenieur engineer Jailleur jailer
Journalier day laborer (male) Journalière day laborer (female)
Journalist newspaperman Journaliste newspaperwoman
Laveuse washwoman Libraire book seller
Machiniste machinist Marchant merchant
Masson mason Mecanicien mechanic
Menuisier joiner, cabinet maker Messager messenger
Minier miner Modiste hair dresser
Musicien musician Notaire notary
Peintre painter Pharmacien pharmacist
Platrier plasterer Plombier plumber
Postillon coachman Reparation handyman
Restauranteur restaurant owner Secretaire secretary
Servant servant (male) Servante servant (female)
Tailleur tailor Tailleuse tailoress

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