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Most family trees include an agricultural labourer somewhere. In his introduction, Ian Waller explains that he kept coming across records of his agricultural labourer ancestors. "How many times have you read in the ... census return the description `ag lab' and thought that there was little else to find out about him? How wrong you are."
Part of our My Ancestor was...series, this book gives a good idea of what daily life was like for this impoverished and now largely forgotten section of society. Ian Waller covers the ordinary workers on the land, such as ploughmen and shepherds. He gives us details of all the skills they needed, including caring for horses. He describes the country calendar of events: ploughing, sowing and harvesting.
The second part of the book outlines records that tell their stories: Quarter Sessions. tithe schedules, manorial records, estate records, and even trade union records. There is a useful bibliography and a list of Parliamentary Bills that affected the lives of agricultural labourers.
This book will be of interest to all genealogists and family historians.
Named "Best Occupational History Book of 2008" by Family History Monthly magazine.
By Ian Waller. Revised edition 2010
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