Search for specific records

This guide was last updated in 2009

This will be a hit-and-miss investigation, but it is worth contacting the local archives to see if any records survive for your ancestors’ place of work.

This is very likely to be the closest mass-employer geographically to their home. You may be lucky enough to find lists of employees that mention your ancestor.

For the wealthier businessmen, have a look in trade directories, and find wills and death duty registers to discover what kind of living they were making. You might find your ancestors in local Poor Law records, and if there were any great incidents, such as accidents, in the workplace, they may be reported in a local newspaper.

You might even find that a mill, a house, a warehouse or shop in which your ancestors lived or worked is standing to this day.

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