”Are poorer ancestors more interesting than wealthier ones?”
Welcome to our August issue, and this month, I’m particularly pleased to have the University of Leicester’s Carol Beardshaw and Steven King write for us about pauper letters. This is a subject they have a lot of experience with, and I hope you enjoy learning more about where to find these fascinating letters, and what they can tell you about your poorer ancestors. I am particularly interested in the lives of the poor, and the strategies they had to undertake in order to survive in the past. Are they more interesting to find in a family tree than wealthier ancestors? I’m not sure about that, as everyone has something of interest about them, but perhaps the challenge of finding out about the lives of the poor makes researching them more satisfying, ultimately.
If you’ve found your ancestor in a pauper letter, or mentioned elsewhere in Poor Law records, I’d love to hear from you about what you found out. Meanwhile, I’m still trying to break down my own brick wall involving a poor illegitimate ancestor in rural Hampshire at the end of the 18th century…
Elsewhere this month, we look at the changing nature of the family over the past few centuries, as Doreen Hopwood explores changes in household structure and the terminology used to describe family members. We’ve also articles looking at a variety of subjects, from war and politics to bizarre crimes and vegetarianism! In one of my favourite series of books, EF Benson’s Lucia novels, from the 1920s and 1930s, vegetarianism is still written about as a peculiar fad, and it’s interesting to see how some of our predecessors ignored such views and stuck to their beliefs despite these attitudes, as Michelle Higgs writes.
As always, do let us know if there’s anything you’d particularly like to see in a future issue of the magazine, and tell us about any brick walls you’re struggling to break down, so that we can see if other readers can help. Meanwhile, enjoy YFH, and we’ll be back in the autumn!
Perhaps the challenge of finding out about the lives of the poor makes them more satisfying, ultimately
Nell Darby Editor firstname.lastname@example.org Cover image: World History Archive/ Alamy