Indirect Occupational Clues in Estate Inventories

A listing of your ancestor’s personal property, if included in his estate inventory, may suggest what his occupation was. In certain areas of the United States local records will state occupations as a way of further identifying the individual. In other areas such occupations are not often stated as part of the name. In these places, items in an estate inventory may provide indirect evidence as to what an ancestral occupation was.

Records that state the occupation provide direct evidence of the occupation. Estate inventories that list items owned provide indirect evidence–because the mention of such items suggests an occupation instead of stating it directly. Indirect evidence isn’t wrong, it’s just categorizing what type of statement it is.

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