More great websites
If you’re on the hunt for a rural worker you should bookmark The National Archive’s Discovery ( discovery. nationalarchives. gov.uk). Now containing all the information formerly available through A2A, Archon, TNA’s own catalogues, and the likes of the Manorial Documents Register, it can help you find sources relating to individual areas, crafts, landowners, industries, plus the location and scope of estate archives and museum collections. Similarly, there’s the Scottish Archives Network ( scan.org.uk) and Archives Wales ( archiveswales.org.uk).
Historic Trade Directories ( specialcollections.le. ac.uk/cdm/ landingpage/collection/p16445coll4) could help you find references to craftsmen or artisans. Many rural crafts and cottage industries will have their own dedicated museums, and for this reason it’s worth visiting the Rural Museums Network ( ruralmuseums.ssndevelopment.org).
Useful examples of online content relating to specific areas and trades include the Mills Archive ( millsarchivetrust.org); the Museum of Leathercraft ( museumofleathercraft.org); Straw Plaiting in Hertfordshire ( hertfordshire- genealogy.co.uk/data/ occupations/straw- plait.htm); and there’s the more general Heritage Crafts Association ( heritagecrafts.org.uk), dedicated to contemporary artisans using traditional crafting techniques.
Genuki’s list of old occupations could come in handy ( genuki. org.uk/big/ Occupations.html), and if you find a transient ancestor, try the Romany & Traveller FHS ( rtfhs.org.uk).
Other sites of interest include the National Wool Museum ( www.museumwales.ac.uk/en/wool); St Fagans Living Museum ( www.museumwales.ac.uk/en/stfagans/livingmuseum); the Rural Life Centre ( rural- life.org.uk); National Museum of Rural Life, Scotland ( nms.ac.uk/our_ museums/ museum_of_ rural_ life.aspx); and the British Agricultural History Society ( bahs.org.uk). Tithe maps show the kind of land that your kin may have farmed. See the TNA research guide at ( national archives.gov.uk/ records/ research- guides/ tithe- records. htm). Some tithe maps have been digitised including West Yorkshire ( tracksintime. wyjs.org.uk), and Cheshire ( maps. cheshire.gov.uk/ tithemaps).
The British Agricultural Society website
The homepage of TNA’s Discovery website