Looking through the census returns it's possible to see the various occupations my ancestors had - and quite varied they were too! Some were involved in the military and the Royal Navy, but many were quite nondescript jobs.
For instance, there's the ambiguous title of 'Ag. Lab.' (agricultural labourer - a universal term encompassing anything from ploughman to farm-hand and countless other jobs in between!). Here's a picture of one of my 2xGreat Grandfathers, Charles Beattie - shown in the census returns as a 'shepherd'
(I don't know when the picture was taken but he died in 1873.)
I assume he may have carried on a family tradition with livestock, since just a few generations earlier his family were one of those involved in sheep-stealing and cattle-rustling known as the Border Reivers (I'll get to them in 'R'!)
Strangely enough, one of his sons and the generations after that became stonemasons by trade. Three generations later my maternal Grandfather Joseph Beattie, along with is brother David, had moved south of the Scottish Border to Carlisle where they set up in business as stonemasons.
Here's Grandad at work in a cemetary, hammer and chisel in hand.
Incidently, his brother David is one of my heroes, as he wrote a number of books but he was also a keen amateur genealogist and local historian - I have him to thank for much of my family tree on that side of the family!
My father's side of the family were mainly miners - and until I started digging back I had no idea we had Irish roots! They moved to Scotland around 1850 and were involved in the coal mines around the Glasgow area. They married into Scottish mining families, so I have 'face-workers', hewers and 'slack sorters' amongst other trades. Some of the women branched into mill work, so they were involved in weaving as 'pickers' and 'piecers'.
The most exotic trade I've found was 'tea dealer'! Another of my 2xGreat Grandfathers, David Johnstone, gave this as his trade in the census - basically, I think he was a travelling salesman! ;-p