Showing posts with label Somerset. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Somerset. Show all posts

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Agricultural labourers found in old newspapers

There were nearly 1.5 million agricultural labourers, farm servants and shepherds listed in the 1851 English census - the most common occupation group. Agricultural labourers were often described as "Ag Labs" in the census. I had always pictured my agricultural labourers from Somerset as wearing smocks and floppy hats, drinking cider and working for the local Squire.

I was searching in the online British Newspaper Archive and decided to try looking for my Napper family from the South Petherton area of Somerset. I had previously searched without success in other British online newspaper sites. Much to my surprise I found some of my Napper relations in the Western Flying Post, Sherborne and Yeovil Mercury.

In the edition of October 20 1849, for example, there is a report of the annual meeting of the Chard, Crewekerne and Ilminster Labourers Friend Society at which awards were presented to "deserving labourers". According to the report:

"One of the prizemen was deserving of particular notice, his name was Charles Napper of Lopen, he had brought up twelve children without parochial relief, for which on a former occasion he received a prize from the Society: he now received a prize for long service. His wages averaged about eight or nine shillings a week."

In another article in the November 10 1849 edition of the same newspaper there is a report of the annual meeting of the South Petherton Agricultural Society. In this report over twenty labourers who won prizes are listed together with the names of their employees.

My ancestor James Napper, who was described as an agricultural labourer in the 1851 census, was found in an advertisement for a land auction at South Petherton in the September 3 1850 edition of the Sherborne and Yeovil Mercury. Details were given of four pieces of land that he was leasing at Watergore.

I've found the British Newspaper Archive to be a great resource and I'm sure that there are many more "Ag Labs" waiting to be found.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

150th Anniversary of the Departure of the Boanerges

One hundred and fifty years ago today two young married couples and about 450 other emigrants left Southampton for Australia on the Boanerges.  The ship sailed on the evening of Tuesday March 18th 1862. The temperature was about 40°F, and an east to northeasterly wind was blowing. By the next morning a mist had set in, however, there was no rain. The emigrants started their voyage on a relatively calm sea.

The two couples were sisters Eliza NAPPER and Fanny NAPPER and their new husbands, Robert DENMAN and Simeon IRELAND. Both couples had married a week earlier at South Petherton, Somerset. Eliza and Fanny had visited a studio with their mother to have their photograph taken shortly before departure. They never saw their mother or father again. Simeon and Fanny IRELAND were my great great grandparents.

I have written an article about this voyage which I am happy to send to anyone who is interested.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Napper family wedding at Sale, Victoria

Seven of the children of James and Elizabeth Napper of Seavington and South Petherton in Somerset, England  emigrated to Australia as adults to start a new life. They were Charles, Enos, Edmund, George, William, Fanny (my great great grandmother) and Eliza. James Napper's brother, John, also emigrated to Australia with his family eventually settling in Sale, Victoria.

The Nappers liked to keep in touch, and when the marriage of one of the Sale Napper family took place in the early 1890s, two of Eliza's children, Lizzy and Gilbert Denman attended. I have a photo of people at this wedding. It includes Lizzy and Gilbert, but I don't know the identity of anyone else - they would include relatives of the bride and groom but could also include friends. Please have a look at this photo and let me know if you can identify anyone.