Help With Archaic Occupation Abbreviations in Census Records

What in the world does an “NG” do for a living?

Today, I looked at a copy of the 1900 Lowndes, Valdosta, GA census record for an ancestor: Thomas Jones. In the record, his occupation is listed as “NG.” Nowhere else on this page is this term used. In the 1880 census he lists himself as a farmer; in the 1910 census he’s a “butcher.” Ugh– what in the world is an NG?

I did what any good researcher these days would do. I immediately posted my question on Facebook! The Georgia Genealogy Network, to be specific. Within two minutes I had my answer.

A fellow researcher, Alison Marie, informed me that NG would stand for “Not Given” and included the following link to a listing of occupations from the 1900 census in Greene county, Arkansas: As I don’t know who originally produced this document, I can’t give credit other than this link back to it and my appreciation for it.

Here was my response to her:

Aahhh— yes, I’m sure that is correct. Though I’m bummed. I don’t like the answer “not given” !! It makes sense though– in 1900, his family moved to Valdosta due to a fire destroying his store in another part of the county. He had just moved there! Thanks for the help.”

Isn’t Facebook amazing! It’s a great research tool.

Well, since I learned something from the document she provided, I thought that I should share it for others to learn from as well. I’m sure that many of these abbreviations apply to other census years across the country.

Following is the information listed in the doc.

  Greene County, Arkansas, 1900 Federal Census Abbreviations
A   Aunt
AB  Abstractor
AD  Adopted
AH  At Home
AP  Assistant Postmaster

B   Brother
BA  Barber
BC  Baker
BK  Bookkeeper
BL  Brother in Law
BM  Brickmaker(occupation col )
    Black Male. (race/sex col )
BR  Boarder
BS  Blacksmith
BU  Butcher
BY  Buyer

C   Cousin
CA  Clerk/Cashier/Messenger
CC  County Clerk
CK  Cook
CL  Collector
CM  City Marshall
CP  Cooper
CR  Carpenter/Contractor
CS  Commissioner Streets
CT  County Treasurer

D   Daughter/Divorced
DC  Deputy County Clerk
DD  Dentist
DL  Daughter in Law
DR  Druggist
DS  Deputy Sheriff

E   Engineer/Fireman(RS )
ED  Editor
EL  Electrician

F   Farmer
FA  Father
FI  Father in Law
FL  Farm Laborer
FM  Fireman
FO  Factory Operator
FS  Fisherman
FT  Fortune Teller

G   Gardener
Go  Grand Daughter
GNI Grand Mother
GS  Grand Son

H   Head of Household
HB  Half Brother
HK  Hotel/Boarding House Mgr.
HR  Hunter
HS  Half Sister

I   Immigrated
IA  Insurance Agent

J   Jeweler
JA  Jailer
JO  Jockey
JP  Justice of Peace

KH  Keeping House/Domestic/House Work

L   Laborer
LA  Laundress
LG  Logger
LL  Lawyer
LS  Laborer/Sawmill

M   Married
MA  Mahinest
MC  Mechanic
MD  Doctor
MI  Miller
ML  Mother in Law
MM  Match Maker
MN  Minister
MO  Mother
MR  Merchant
MS  Mason (brick/stone )
MU  Musician
MW  Maid
MY  Mayor

N   Nurse
NE  Nephew
NG  Not Given
NI  Niece

O   Orphant
OC  Oculist
OS  Owner/Sawmill

P   Peddler
PA  Pauper
PB  Plumber
PG  Photographer
PH  Pool Hall ( owner/optr )
PL  Policeman/Watchman/Ect
PM  Postmaster
PN  Printer
PO  Porter
PR  Partner
PS  Prisoner
PT  Painter

R   Rea1 Estate Agent
RD  Mail Rider
RS  Restaurant
RR  Railroad(all employees)

S   Son or Single
SA  Salesman
SC  Scavenger
SD  Step Daughter
SE  Seamstress/Dressmaker
SF  Sheriff
SH  Shoemaker
SI  Sister
SK  Stockdealer/Livery Sta.
SL  Sister/Son in Law
Sht Step brother
SP  Stenographer
SR  Saloon Keeper
SS  Step Son
ST  Student
SV  Sereant
SX  Sexton

T   Teacher
TA  Tailor
TC  Timber Emp. /Lumber Dlr.
TG  Telegraph Employee
TL  Telephone Employee
TG  Teamster
TN  Metal Worker
TR  Trader
TT  Trust Agent /Banker
TU  Typographer

U   Uncle

W   Wife/Widow/Widower
WA  Warehouse Agent
WD  Ward
WE  Weaver
WF  White Female
WM  White Male
WR  Waiter
WW  Wagon Wright


  1. Rebecca Jones Pacey

    Thanks Julie, nice chart to have.

  2. Betsy Combs

    This is awesome! Thanks Julie!!!


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