The Dictionary Of Occupational Titles is a free web-based resource. Have you ever found an occupation for an ancestor and you weren’t sure what the job actually was? You might find some useful information at

The U.S. Department of Labor has compiled this dictionary of occupational titles, codes and job descriptions. Even better, because it was created by the federal government, the information is in the public domain, so feel free to copy and and use freely.

I knew my Norwegian ancestors who emigrated to Chicago worked in the garment industry, so when I found a record for my great-uncle being a “cutter,” I was able to confirm the meaning of the term at the dictionary:

Draws and cuts out sets of patterns for specified ranges of garment sizes, grading (increasing or decreasing dimensions) master pattern for each size within set, using either of following methods: (1) Obtains data from charts that specify modifications of master pattern dimensions necessary to produce patterns of various sizes. Positions master pattern on paperboard and drafts reference points on paperboard to modify dimensions of master pattern, according to specification charts, using drafting instruments. Draws lines between reference points, producing outline of graded pattern. (2) Positions master pattern in clamp of grading device and places paperboard under pattern. Turns knobs to set dial indicator at specified size and moves master pattern through series of reference points on paperboard. Marks reference points on paperboard. Draws lines between reference points, producing outline of graded pattern. Marks location of notches in graded patterns that serve as guides for joining garment parts. Cuts out graded patterns, using scissors, and marks garment size, sections, and style number on each pattern piece.

Sounds hard to do, and now I’m sure that was his occupation. Give the Dictionary of Occupational Titles a try.