Professions and other terms listed in the 1831 Census of Kamouraska, Lower Canada

Professions and Occupations

Below is a translation of the French terms for occupations and professions that are listed in the column headed "Métier ou profession" in the 1831 Census of Kamouraska County, Lower Canada.

For very useful translations and descriptions of some of these occupations, see Luc Trépanier's page (in French and English) on occupations in Québec, at; this is part of his larger site on the Great Families of Québec.

For the definition (in English) of some of the old professions, see "Old Names of Occupations" from the online Global Gazette at

Armurier = Gunsmith

Arpentier = Land Surveyor

Aubergiste = Innkeeper

Bédeau = Beadle

Calfat = Caulker

Cardeur = Carder

Chapellier = Hatter, Hatmaker

Charpentier = Framer (builds buildings)

Charron = Cartwright, Wheelwright

Cordonnier = Cobbler, Shoemaker

Couturière = Dressmaker

Couvreur en bardeau = roofer who roofs with shingles

Cultivateur, Cultr. = Farmer

Curé = Pastor

Docteur = Doctor

Ferblantier = Tinsmith

Fermier = Agricultural worker

Forgeron = Smith

Grand Vicaire = Vicar General

Huissier = Sheriff

Journalier / Journalière (fem. form) = Day laborer

Maçon = Stone mason, bricklayer

Marchand = Merchant

Meunier = Miller

Mendiant = Beggar, Mendicant

Menuisier = Carpenter

Mtres. d'Ecole (Maîtresse d'École) = School Mistress

Mtre. d'Ecole (Maître d'École) = School Master

Navigateur = Sailor

Notaire = Lawyer, Solicitor

Ouvrier = Worker

Pecheur = Fisherman

Peintre = Painter

Pilote = Ship's pilot

Potier = Potter

Prêtre = Priest

Rentier = Retiree

Scieur = Sawyer

Seigneur = Land owner, Landlord

Sellier = Saddler

Tailleur = Tailor

Tanneur = Tanner

Tonnellier = Cooper (barrel-maker)

Other Terms

Here are translations and definitions of some other terms used in the census. (For a translation of the column headings in the census go here.)

Terms used with names:

Ecuier (Écuyer) = Esquire

fils = son; after a name, in English it would be Jr. (junior)

Messire = term usually used for "your lord" with nobility; in this context, a title of respect for Roman Catholic priests

père = father; after a name, in English it would be Sr. (senior)

Soeur = Sister (for nuns)

Veuve = Widow (Veuve is listed under first name, often in place of the widow's own first name)

Terms used for land holdings:

Franc et commun socage (under Land Tenure) = Free and Common Socage. "Free and common socage was a form of traditional English land tenure governing land ownership and use. The expression refers to a type of free ownership of land (for example, lease rental and farm tenancy) based on common law customs. In Canada, it is to be distinguished from seigneurial tenure, which was abolished in 1854." (Source: National Library of Canada, h18-2972-e.html)

Rang, as in premier rang (1st Range), 2eme Rang (2nd Range), etc. This refers to land division, which was measured from the river front. The 2nd Range was thus the second line of property back from the riverfront, usually fronting on a main road.

Roture (under Land Tenure) = A term used in French and Canadian Law that refers to "a feudal tenure of lands by one who has no privileges of nobility, but is permitted to discharge all his obligations to his feudal lord or superior by a payment of rent in money or kind and without rendering any personal services." (Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.)

Units of money.

A number of the columns in the 1831 census ask about the cost or price of various items: daily wages, monthly wages, rents paid to landlords, prices paid for wheat. Since Lower Canada (Québec) was a British colony, the money amounts are given in pounds sterling, using the notation of that time. Unlike today, when a pound is made up of 100 pence, in the traditional English monetary system there were 12 shillings in a pound, and 20 pence in a shilling (so 240 pence in a pound). The notation used in this census took one of three forms:

  • 1.10.5    This means 1 pound, 10 shillings, and 5 pence
  • 12/8½    This means 12 shillings, 8½ pence
  • 4/           This means 4 shillings
  •   8d        This means 8 pence (d is short for penny)
  •  /8          This also means 8 pence (0 shillings, 8 pence)


Please note: The comments that the census taker listed under "Observations Générales" (General Observations) are translated into English in pop-boxes. Just put the cursor over the comment and you will see the English translation in the popup box. (The popups require that your browser has JavaScript and that it be turned on.)

Return to 1831 Census of Kamouraska

Last revised 10 Jul 2003
© 2003 C. Gagnon