Under the heading "Occupation, Trade, Rank or Profession" can be found some of the most revealing clues to family history. The occupation of the head of the household determined the lifestyle of the family, dictating how and where they lived. Frequently it affected the next generation, as sons followed their fathers' occupations or carried on the family business, while marriage often strengthened ties between families already connected by trade or occupation.
There are several thousand occupations listed in census return tables with many sub-divisions noted in manufacturing areas. While some terms are vague and of doubtful interpretation the great majority are self-explanatory or are easily identified. However, in some instances a specific occupation can be known by different names, or the same name is applied to very different trades, according to the locality