Occupational Names

When surnames first came into official use many were taken from the occupation that particular man (or woman) was applied to. For instance if you were a baker by trade your surname may become Baker or even Baxter. Over time surnames have come into vogue as first names for both boys and girls. Below is a list of names I've come a crossed that are related to an occupation.

Abbott - church official
Angel - heavenly messenger
Archer - bowman, archer
Ayers - heir to an estate

Baker - baker, bread maker
Baxter - baker, bread maker
Butler - servant, service man
Bard - poet, minstrel
Baird - poet, minstrel
Banner - flag bearer
Barker - lumberjack, carnival advertiser
Baron - title, nobleman
Beamer - trumpet player
Berger - (French) shepherd
Bishop - bishop, overseer, church official
Booker - book maker, book binder
Brewer - beer brewer
Brewster - brewer, beer brewer
Bridger - bridge builder
Burgess - shop keeper, town dweller
Butcher - butcher, meat seller
Banker - money handler, banker
Blacksmith - iron worker, iron forger, blacksmith

Carter - cart driver, cart maker
Card - wool carder
Carder - wool carder
Cartwright - cart maker
Chalmers - lord of the manner
Chandler - candle seller, candle maker
Chase - (French) hunter
Chauncey - church official
Clark -  cleric, scholar, book official, clerk
Clerk - cleric, scholar, book official, clerk
Colby - coal miner
Coleman - coal miner
Collier - coal miner, coal seller
Cutler - knife maker
Cooper - barrel maker, barrel seller
Cowper - barrel maker, barrel seller
Calvert - calf herder, calf herdsman
Chancellor - record keeper, secretary to a king or lord
Chapman - merchant, peddler
Chevalier - (French) horseman, knight
Colter - head of colts and asses
Cook - cook, seller of cooked meats, owner of an eating house
Crowther - player of a crowd similar to a fiddler
Carpenter - carpenter, builder, wood worker

Deacon - church official, deacon, servant of a deacon
Devon - (Gaelic) poet
Duke - duke, nobleman, leader, servant of a duke
Dempster - judge
Draper - maker and seller of fabric mostly wool
Dukker - fortune teller
Dyer - fabric dyer
Driver - driver, driver of horse or cattle
Ducker - duck raiser, driver

Earl - nobleman, servant of an earl
Elder - church official, senior member of the church

Fabian - bean farmer
Ferris - iron worker
Ferrier - iron worker, horseshoe maker, smith
Fisk - fisher
Forster - woodsman
Foster - woodsman
Fuller - cloth worker, shrinker or thiner of cloth, thickener or fuller of cloth
Farmer - farmer, animal tender, worker in husbandry
Fisher - fisherman, fish catcher
Falkner - falcon trainer
Farr - bull or cattle keeper
Fletcher - arrow maker, featherer, arrowsmith
Fowler - trapper of wild fowl, bird keeper

Garth - herdsman
Gardner - gardener, plant tender
Gardiner - gardener, plant tender
Grover - gardener, engraver
Goldsmith - gold worker and seller
Garner - (French) guard, sentry
Gent - gentleman
Gentry - nobleman
Gilmer - hostage
Granger - farmer, bailiff, overseer

Hunter - hunter, huntsman, animal catcher, poacher
Hackman - wood cutter, servant of a hunchback
Harper - harp player
Hyder - tanner


Jagger - carter, wheel maker

Kirkman - church official, sexton
King - ruler, king
Knight - knight, nobleman, rider, servant of a knight

Lander - owner of property, landlord
Lord - nobleman, servant of a lord, lord or chief
Lister - cloth dyer

Marshall -  (literal meaning 'horse servant') groomsman, shoeing smith or farrier; also denotes a man of high military responsibility or a jailer.
Mason - stone worker, brick layer
Mercer - merchant, shop keeper, trader of textiles (silk, velvet, satin).
Miller - miller, mill keeper, milner
Major - military rank, spear man, mayor
Miner - one who built mines for either mining coal or minerals or mines for use in Medieval warfare
Mister - from French Maitre meaning a master of a trade guild
Minstrel - poet, musician



Page - young servant, young assistant
Palmer - palm bearer, one who went on a pilgrimage, cleric who sold false indulgences
Parker - park guarder, gamekeeper
Porter - gatekeeper or doorkeeper; also a man who carried loads for a living instead of using horses or oxen
Pryor/Prior - a prior, head of the monastery; or a servant of a prior
Pope - meaning 'father' it was used as a title for the bishops of Rome, as a surname it was used as a nickname for a pompous man or one who had portrayed a pope in a play
Pastor - shepherd, not used for a church official until after Medieval times
Pharaoh - Egyptian ruler
Prentice - apprentice, someone learning a trade
Prince - nobleman, king's son, servant of a prince, someone behaving in a princely manner
Proctor - steward, agent, attorney in spiritual courts, collector of alms for poor or enclosed orders of monks
Plummer - worker in lead, one who made lead pipes and conduits
Parson - perish priest
Piper - pipe player, flute player


Ranger - grove keeper, park keeper
Reeve - bailiff
Rex - king, ruler
Rider / Ryder - horse farmer, horse rider
Roper - rope maker, rope dealer
Rover -traveler

Sadler - saddle maker
Sargent - military rank
Sawyer - wood cutter
Sexton - church official, grave digger
Shepherd - sheep header, sheep caretaker
Sherman - cloth cutter, sheep shearer
Silversmith - silver worker
Skipper - ship master
Smith - metal worker, iron forger
Spangler - tinsmith
Spencer / Spenser - steward, estate keeper, shop keeper
Squire - knight's assistant, large landholder
Steward / Stewart / Stuart - steward, estate keeper
Stoker - furnace tender, stove tender
Stover - stove tender, furnace tender
Sumner - summoner, petty officer who cites persons to appear in court

Taggart - son of the priest
Tailor / Taylor - tailor, one who sews or alters clothing
Tanner - leather worker
Thatcher - roof tiler, roof fixer
Tinsmith - tin worker
Trader - skilled worker, merchant
Trapper - a person whose business is the trapping of animals for their furs
Tucker - cloth tucker
Tudor - ruler of the people
Tupper - ram raiser
Turner - wood turner, wood worker
Tutor - teacher, guardian, private teacher, custodian
Tyler - tile maker, roof tiler


Vance - thresher
Victor - winner

Wagner - wagon maker
Wainwright - wagon maker
Walker - forest walker
Waller - wall builder
Warden - one who guard, govener of a prison
Warner / Werner - warden, army guard
Weaver - one who weaves
Weber - weaver
Webster - weaver, a female weaver
Wheeler - wheel maker
Wheelwright - wheel maker
Whistler - whistle player, pipe player, flute player
Wilder - wild man, woodsman
Woodsman - forest dweller
Wright - maker, worker, forger

Xerxes - (Persian) ruler, king