Putting it in context

This guide was last updated in 2009

Whatever you uncover about your ancestor in the records, pursuing some background investigation will illuminate your ancestor’s experiences and help put them into a wider context.

Histories of banking in general, and your ancestor’s bank in particular, will paint a picture of what was going on in the particular bank and the banking world at the time, and how typical were your ancestor’s experiences.

You might discover your ancestor’s likely route into the bank – perhaps through nepotism, wealth or as a progression from a related career.

Many banking archives will hold their own and more general histories, in which you can discover when your ancestor’s bank was established, under what circumstances, how fast it grew, how many employees it boasted and all kinds of information about its business both on a day-to-day and a long-term basis.

The Bank of England Museum provides a rich, visual history of banking, and is well worth a visit if you happen to be in London on a weekday.


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