When Queen Victoria came to the throne in 1837, over half her subjects were reliant on agriculture for their livelihoods, despite the Industrial revolution making Britain one of the most prominent industrial societies in the world. It is unsurprising, then, that most of us have an ag lab somewhere in our family tree. But how can we learn more about them and the lives that they led?
In this highly-anticipated, much-expanded second edition of his My Ancestor was an Agricultural Labourer book, genealogist Ian Waller provides a wealth of information to help you discover your ag lab ancestors. He explains what life was like for this impoverished and now largely forgotten section of society, gives us details of all the skills they needed and describes the country calendar of events, including ploughing, sowing and harvesting. He also outlines records that tell is more about the lives of farm labourers: quarter sessions, tithe schedules, manorial records, estate records and trade union records.
There are chapters on casual farm labourers, dairy maids, child labour, thatchers, riots, wills, migration records, game keepers and changes in agricultural practice, as well as a useful bibliography and list of Parliamentary Bills that affected the lives of agricultural labourers. A handy guide to researching your ancestry, the book is also an impressive work of social history that is even more fascinating and comprehensive than the original edition.