Track down em­ploy­ment records

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - 20TH CENTURY ANCESTORS -

One of the best ways to dis­cover more about an adult an­ces­tor’s ev­ery­day life is to ex­plore their oc­cu­pa­tion. Be­gin searches for em­ploy­ment records of a spe­cific busi­ness or work ad­dress with lo­cal maps and di­rec­to­ries, and at the rel­e­vant ar­chives. The sur­vival rate of em­ploy­ment records in­creases into the 20th cen­tury, but ac­cess may be more dif­fi­cult since they are likely to be held by the rel­e­vant com­pany. You should also be aware that com­pany names of­ten change over time. If you know the name of your an­ces­tor’s em­ployer, try typ­ing it into a search en­gine, along with an ad­dress if you have one, be­cause that can some­times give clues to name changes and where the ar­chives are held. You can also use The Na­tional Ar­chives’ on­line cat­a­logue Dis­cov­ery ( dis­cov­­tion­ to see if com­pany records have been de­posited in a lo­cal archive.

Em­ploy­ment records can in­clude dates and places of death, as well as de­tails of ca­reers. Ances­try holds a num­ber of use­ful col­lec­tions for in­di­vid­u­als who worked in spe­cific ar­eas, in­clud­ing rail­ways and the Metropoli­tan Po­lice pen­sion reg­is­ters 1852–1932 (

pen­sion), although tran­scribed and digi­tised records may be the tip of the ice­berg com­pared with the ma­te­rial held in ar­chives. You may also find in-house com­pany mag­a­zines, with pho­tos of com­pany events and an­nounce­ments of births, mar­riages, re­tire­ments and deaths.

Metropoli­tan traf­fic po­lice in the 1930s. Pen­sion records are avail­able on Ances­try

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