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Digital Subscriptions > Family Tree > Family Tree August 2018 > In their own words

In their own words

lt can be difficult to understand our ancestors’ lives sometimes if the words we find in old records are no longer familiar. Simon Wills looks at examples, and suggests some resources that may help you overcome the problem
A number of ‘youths’ of various ages. To our ancestors a youth was anyone aged between the ages of about nine and 21!

INTERPRETING OUR ANCESTORS

Understanding a written document about an ancestor can catch us out when conducting family history research, not least because we may not immediately understand the vocabulary. I recently read an 18th century account of how a man had been treated by a physician. It said that following a referral to an expert, his troublesome medical condition ‘had been discussed by Dr Parsons’. On the face of it, merely having a conversation about the patient’s symptoms may not seem the most helpful approach. Until, that is, you realise that the word ‘discuss’ formerly meant to ‘dispel’. So the good doctor had done what was required and cured his patient.

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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.