‘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
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.