‘The 1911 census was my break­through’

Ge­neal­o­gist Robert Parker broke through his brick wall to dis­cover an an­ces­tor who changed oc­cu­pa­tion from mal­ster to some­thing very difffff­fer­ent. Gail Dixon finds out more

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - MY EUREKA MOMENT -

father be­fore him. In the 1861 census, the fam­ily was liv­ing in Stow, near Ip­swich, and Ge­orge had be­come a ‘mal­ster’. Trag­i­cally, Ed­ward’s mother Mary died in 1850 when he was just two years old and Ge­orge lost his se­cond wife, Ann, who passed away in 1857. He later mar­ried El­iz­a­beth Ann Driver in 1862 and she had four chil­dren with him.

Ge­orge’s change of oc­cu­pa­tion from ag lab to mal­ster may re­flect the lack of job se­cu­rity at the time. The move from open fields to en­clo­sure speeded up con­sid­er­ably in the late 19th cen­tury, chang­ing the agri­cul­tural way of life for­ever.

Ten­ant farm­ers em­ployed ag labs on a ca­sual ba­sis and most were paid by the day for jobs like ditch­ing, har­vest­ing and thresh­ing. Job se­cu­rity for the ma­jor­ity was non-ex­is­tent.

How­ever, brew­ers were plen­ti­ful be­cause the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple drank beer as it was a safer bet than wa­ter. A mal­ster would pre­pare the malt from grain to a brewer’s spec­i­fi­ca­tion.

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