Thursday, 11 April 2013

A-Z 2013 'J' is for Journeys and Journeymen

With our current opportunities for travelling the world with ease, by train, boat or plane, the planet has indeed become a 'global village. Yet, whilst some ancestors stayed put, never moving beyond their villages, intermarrying with local families (or even their own cousins!), others ventured further and even crossed oceans. At a time when such journeys were fraught with danger it is awesome to think just how 'mobile' the previous generations were. Some came back, others didn't. Some lived to tell the tale!

Looking through the census returns one finds that place of birth is recorded - and the plot thickens!

For instance, here's the entry from the 1871 census for my 2xGreat Grandfather and his family:

(click on the picture to make it bigger and legible!)

Of the seven inhabitants only two were born in the same place! The explanation for this well-travelled family is that William, head of the household, was in the Royal Artillery and with various postings it meant that his children seem to have been born at virtually each stop! This would appear to indicate that wherever he went, he took his wife - even to Bermuda! Amelia, their first daughter was born at the barracks and Christened in the chapel at St George - so I wonder if the older child went with Mum and Dad, too? Clearly it would have been an adventure for them to travel so far from 'home' - a very long sea journey across the Atlantic Ocean!

As for 'Journeymen' - they crop up in various census returns and descriptions of occupation - but have nothing to do with travelling! The term 'Journeyman' implies a labourer or craftsman who has likely completed an apprenticeship but does not own his own business; instead he hires himself out on a day-to-day basis. The origins of the word, rather than implying travel, are thought to be from the French word, 'jour', as in 'day' - thus such a worker was paid by the day.


  1. Just stopping by from the A-Z Challenge list to say "Hi"

    The world is now a very small place isn't it lol

    Good luck with the rest of the challenge :)


  2. So each area that is red you found some of your ancestors? That is amazing...they were everywhere. They truly did journey the world.

    So cool, Sue.

    Chuck at Apocalypse Now

  3. Sadly, no, Chuck - that's just a global map I found on the web! Although now I look at it I think, with the possible exception of South America, I've found reference to some of my folks (and hubby's) in all the red places!