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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

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