Understanding how our ancestors spent their working day can give us fascinating insights that greatly increase our understanding of their life and times. Clues to the jobs our ancestors held may be found in birth, marriage and death certificates, census records, military records or electorol rolls. You may have found evidence in your family archives or asked the question in an oral history interview. Asking my father what he did when first left school, he told me about his youth working in shearing sheds and named some of the stations in central New South Wales where he worked. In the 1950's Australia "rode on the sheep's back" and I have been able to learn more about this time by reading The Shearers
The federation of Family History Societies themed a recent newsletter on The Working Lives of Our Ancestors which is worth a read. It discusses clues to occupations, types of occupations, examples of resources and more. FamilySearch also provides advice with their blog post How to Discover your Ancestor's Occupation. This Index to Occupations is quite good to identify older jobs. Remember to explore what we may have in the library collection. You never know what you might find.
Resources to understand our ancestors working lives. Through industry histories or personal stories via memoir and biography, these publications and online resources can provide an understanding of, and context of our ancestors lives.
Was your ancestor a country nurse
Was your ancestor a bookseller or publisher?
Was your ancestor a man of the sea? The whaling industry at one time boomed.
Another perspective for the man of the sea.
This book describes the kind of work your blacksmithing ancestor might have done