View Full Version : Agricultural Labourers
22-07-2009, 11:10 AM
Hey! Alot of my family were Ag Lab's isit possible to find out where they worked and who they worked for?
Any help much appreciated,
22-07-2009, 11:36 AM
Welcome - you are among friends here!
So tell us some names (and places and dates) and help will come soon!
22-07-2009, 4:46 PM
Welcome to the land of the 'Ag Lab' frustrating bunch aren't they?:)
Most of my family on my paternal side are 'Ag Labs', I got excited the other day as one of mine was shown as a Road Contractor only to find in the next census he was an 'Ag Lab' again:confused:
The census will give you some good clues where they worked. Quite often they will be living on the farm where they work and often you'll find that the young female members of the family are employed as servants in the farm house.
Don't worry if you hit a wall, post what you've got and someone will have a look for you
22-07-2009, 6:05 PM
I sometimes feel as though I have cornered the market in Ag Labs! |biggrin|
As has been said, the censuses will help to pinpoint where your Ag Lab ancestors were and for which farms they may have worked.
I found that the local museums were able to help with the names of the farms that surrounded the areas. In one case, the museum had a newspaper cutting that mentioned one of mine and from that I was able to search the newspapers for other mentions.
One of the most useful resources that I have come across is the Society of Genealogists publication, "My Ancestor was an Agricultural Labourer (http://www.parishchest.com/shop/index.php?cmd=viewproduct&cat=&id=P80341&pageOffset=0)". It provides useful clues to the records that are available to trace them.
22-07-2009, 7:12 PM
WOW!Alot of interest in this area haha! Yes they are frustrating on the census no address being listed. I just wouldn't mind knowing who the worked for, wages, where they lived etc.
There's 4 in the 1851 census: Thomas Sheldrake born 1823, Henley, Suffolk.
His brothers were still living with his mother at this time my relative is William Sheldrake born 1845, Claydon, Suffolk (I believe this to be the child of Thomas but lets not go into this 1). There are 3 brothers all agricultural labourers. 1 was a Shoemaker
There is also 5 in 1841: William Sheldrake born 1791, Suffolk. Him and 4 of his sons were Ag Lab's. You may notice William Jr has changed his profession to a shoemaker by 1851.
So which is the right direction to start searching? Lets just hope they all worked for the same guy all the time.
Thanks for the replies everyone.
22-07-2009, 7:25 PM
Lets just hope they all worked for the same guy all the time. Oh dear. The thing with agricultural work was that it was - and still is - very seasonal.
A chap may have worked for one farmer, ploughing the fields and then another farmer at harvest time. During the winter months, he may have been working for yet another, looking after the horses. See http://www.parishchest.com/english_farming_past_and_present__P87542
By following the enumerators' route on the census and cross-referencing with maps of the time, you may be able to nail down the specific house in which they lived.
Quite often, these houses were tied to certain farms. The County Records Office may be able to unearth such records and, by using them, help you to identify the farmer for whom they worked. 'Tis something to consider.
22-07-2009, 7:34 PM
Also distinguish between ag labs and farm servants.
Ag lab was pretty much a statistical classification. Sometimes parish registers are more informative.
As Jan says in different words, treat an enumeration book as a unit and don't just look at individual households in isolation. And don't place too much reliance on census returns to the exclusion of other more important sources.
22-07-2009, 7:36 PM
Thanks Jan. When you say "following the enumerators' route on the census and cross-referencing with maps of the time" what exactly do you mean?
Thanks also Peter, what can i find in the parish registers? Are you talking about marriages, births etc, or did they keep other records? How can i distinguish between ag labs and farm servants?
22-07-2009, 7:46 PM
Thanks Jan. When you say "following the enumerators' route on the census and cross-referencing with maps of the time" what exactly do you mean?Okay... at the beginning of each enumerator's book there is a description of the area/roads covered. If you are using a commercial cenus provider, it is easy to just home in on your ancestors' record. However, if you go to page 1, you should see the description.
Then, work your way from page to page, identifying landmarks along the way. These might be pubs, the vicarage, large estate houses, farms and the like. But they will help you to pinpoint where along the route your chaps lived and, used in conjunction with a map, should help you to identify the places where they may have worked and therefore the farms to which any houses were tied.
As I love maps, I find this to be a joyful task, but others may find it to be a tad tedious. However, patience is your friend in family history. :)
23-07-2009, 12:08 AM
Sometimes in a census you will see something like Joe Bloggs, farmer of 120 acres employing 4 men, but these men are not shown as living in. If there are Ag labs living close by, possibly in tied cottages as said above, they may well be working for that farm.
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