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  1. #1
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    Default Agricultural labourer - to Farmer?

    Hi all

    I have an 11 year gap Im trying to fill.

    In 1871 my relative - from Anglesey - married a young man from roughly the same area of villages - but in Liverpool and this is where they stayed until death.

    Now on the marriage cert it states brides father as being a Farmer.

    I am pretty cetain I have traced them back a further 10 years - but it says he is an Agricultural Labourer.

    Is this possible - that he has worked his way up/inheritated land or is simply embellishing the truth on the marriage cert?

    Any ideas welcome.

    Sonja

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    Quote Originally Posted by sonjabuk View Post
    ... simply embellishing the truth on the marriage cert?...
    Sonja
    The most likely explanation, I would think - he did work on a farm, after all; not at all an uncommon occurence.

    Colin

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    Fathers' occupations on marriage certificates are notorious for overstatement.

  4. #4
    Peter_uk_can
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    He could well have been a "tenant" farmer. It wasn't uncommon in my own family. There were quite a few farmers but none of them actually owned the land or the farm.

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    I've found a bit of fluidity in the descriptions of farming occupations - see this thread. In that case it was someone who went from being a yeoman to a labourer - read the thread for more info. My gut feeling is that whoever was in charge on the farm might have been called the farmer, and anyone working for them would be called a labourer, be they son, elderly father or hired help. (Though some census returns do have "farmer's son" - maybe they're the unlucky ones who don't actually get paid and just get their keep!)

    If I'm right, then presumably on a journey through life someone might go from ag lab to farmer and back to ag lab - but remember that I don't actually have any evidence for this...

    Arthur

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    Thank you all for your input.

    So another question - along the same lines.

    On the 1851 census we have the

    Head - John - age 36
    Wife - Elizabeth - age 28
    labourer - Griffith Williams - age 67 - servant

    There are 4 possible matches for maiden names for Elizabeth - one of them being Williams

    Whats the chance of this gent - Griffiths being her father? Would he not be listed as being Father in law? Or is that a more modern thing?

    Sonja

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    John Peeler
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    Default Farmer or Ag /Lab

    Hi Sonja ,

    I had exactly the same situation with my g,gmtr who moved from Suffolk to work in a big house in London in the 1890's where she eventually married the head butler and on her marriage lines her father was given as "Farmer" but he was in fact on the census an agricultural labourer. I even went to where the area where they came from, but no farm!!!!!!

    I think that it was common in those days to elevate oneself for whatever reason.

    Fascinating things turn up in genealogy.

    Regards John

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    Knowledgeable and helpful suedent's Avatar
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    Having a background scattered with agricultural labourers I'd say that it was not at all uncommon.

    I know from my grandfather's oral accounts that his grandfather had a smallholding & helped on local farms on a casual basis. On several certificates, including his own death certificate, he was described as a farmer.

    I also have several ancestors who were also described on censuses as farmers/tin streamers. In reality they may have had a cow, a pig & a few chickens.

    Yes, they farmed, but just not in the way we now picture when the word farmer is used.
    Sue Dent, Assistant Projects Officer Polperro FHS

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    Quote Originally Posted by sonjabuk View Post
    There are 4 possible matches for maiden names for Elizabeth - one of them being Williams

    Whats the chance of this gent - Griffiths being her father? Would he not be listed as being Father in law? Or is that a more modern thing?

    Sonja
    Since the person supplying the information to the census enumerator was either the head of houshold or the wife I would think that it is unlikely that Griffith Williams was Elizabeth's father unless John and Griffith disliked each other and the latter was there on sufferance.

    Colin

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    Default Labourers - Agricultural or otherwise

    Re: Farmers. I have noticed on census that in the appropriate column the legend 'Farmer of X acres employing Y men and/or Z boys' makes this category clear. So perhaps others with a few animals designated themselves as such as has been suggested. I have several relatives who seem to change their occupations regularly Y

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