An ordinary family, its heritage, and its trip through history
This is the story
of an ordinary family and its progress from the late 1600s to the present
day. Like most English families, it consists mainly of agricultural
labourers, domestic servants, factory and railway workers.
It doesn't include dukes, duchesses, earls or barons, although
it has its share of stories of their dalliances!
It also has it's fair share of illegitimacy,
with all the challenges that that poses for the researcher, and many of its
branches that just peter out. But that's part of the fun of
trying to piece together events that took place well over 100
Our family is typical of the majority
of British families of the working class of the 1800s, and that is part of
its fascination for me. Just filling in boxes on family charts may be interesting
in its own way, but the real essence of researching family history is trying
to imagine what life was like for our forebears, and place their story in
the context of the social history of the time. That's when we can start to
see the picture as a whole, rather than just a series of births, marriages,
How was the news of the pregnancy
outside wedlock delivered and received? What made up the day-to-day work
of the "vermin killer"? How did an ancestor suddenly go from "agricultural
labourer" to "innkeeper and baker"? Why did the whole family
leave their rural village after 100 years and move 200 miles to start a new
life in a far-away city?
We may never know the answer to
all of these questions, but the quest that we start will hopefully motivate
others to carry on beyond our research and our time, helping our family to
better understand where we came from, and how we survived the challenges
of the last 300 years.