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Digital Subscriptions > Family Tree > Family Tree August 2018 > Just the job!

Just the job!

When doing our family history we’re often looking at records that mention our ancestors’ occupations in passing. Sometimes we just glance at the job, before adding the details to our family trees. Helen Tovey has 10 questions to ask yourself to learn that bit more about your folks’ daily toil and what it meant for the lives they once led

How to researc h you r ancesto rs’ wo rk


1 What’s The big picture?

Many of our forays into family history involve our Victorian ancestors, and as a consequence many of us will find our ancestors working in the factories, mills, mines and domestic service of the era. But how do the numbers break down? It’s worth numbercrunching a few of the statistics, as these not only might provide information about your family member’s line of work, but may also give you a wider picture of main jobs and industries of the era.


See a ‘Vision of Britain’

The Vision of Britain online atlas has got to be the place to start. It’s free to access and packed with information. Explore the colour-coded online maps of England, Wales and Scotland to gain a broad understanding of such things as the percentage of people working in agriculture or manufacturing, or the comparative number of women in paid work over the decades.

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About Family Tree

What did your ancestors do for a job? Were they an apprentice? Did they take the King’s Shilling? Or work down the mine? What were the opportunities available to them, and what were the very real hazards of the work they did all day? This issue we’re exploring those employment records that can help you find out more about your ancestors’ work in times gone by. Discovering the history of your ancestors’ employment will give you invaluable insights into the lives they led. What they earned, and how they earned it, will shed light on their income and lifestyle, the communities they lived in, and the roof over their heads. Investigate their work; understand their lives… We have all the info you need to help you do this.