I have an 1881 Census record for one of my research subjects where he appears as a servant at the local Manor house.
Mark Herber's Ancestral Trails has a section on finding manor house records which is very thorough (obviously) so I have many ideas about where to search. My question is -- when doing a house history, what information would be useful to have in hand before I begin to search all the archives suggested by Herber?
My preliminary research plan includes
- Descendancy research for the head of household in the 1881 Census
- A search of the British Newspaper Archives for notes about property transfers
- A search of historical directories for the house's name and a timeline of its tenants
From prior reading, I already know that this particular family line dies out; the last male of the family was killed in the First World War and is in the village's Roll of Honor.
I don't expect any of the manor house records to be of genealogical interest for the servant's families -- to have them identified as '[name] son of [father]' is a lot to ask -- but if I could get records about how many servants were employed by the house at various times, it would be good for context, and if records turned up which actually listed when people were hired and let go, that would be a great 'lucky dip'.
Suggestions and commentary from your own experiences are welcome, including what search terms were useful when searching archives' catalogs for named house records.
For those who can't resist working the problem, here's the census record in question at Family Search:
- Household Role Gender Age Birthplace
- Eliza Bastard Head F 75 Slapton, Devon, England
- Sarah Bastard Daughter F 44 Slapton, Devon, England
- Charlotte Randall Servant F 26 Stokenham, Devon, England
Arthur Knowles Servant M 18 Slapton, Devon, England
Name: Arthur Knowles
- Age (Original): 18
- Gender: Male
- Birth Year: 1863
- Birthplace: Slapton, Devon, England
- Relationship to Head of Household: Servant
- Marital Status: Single
- Occupation: General Servant
- Address: Prospect House
- Event Place: Slapton, Devonshire, England
- Record Type: Household
- Affiliate Publication Number: RG11 Piece/Folio: 2180 / 67 Page Number: 3
Edited to add: it may also be useful, or more useful, to have records about the tenants. The 1881 Census is the only record so far where I have an explicit association between Arthur Knowles and the Bastard family. Arthur's occupation in 1891 is 'thatcher', so if they owned thatched cottages they might have been his employer. In a later census (1911) he lists his occupation as "Jobbing Gardener". (In 1901 on Census Day, Arthur and his family are in the USA, so there is no 1901 Census record.)
Morris and Co.'s Commercial Directory and Gazetteer (1870) lists under 'Clergy and Gentry':
Bastard Richard, Esq., Prospect house
Other census records in Slapton with Eliza Bastard born 1805:
- 1841 Census at Pool House, with husband Richard
- 1851 Census at Poole House, with husband Richard
- 1861 Census at Prospect House, with husband Richard
- 1871 Census at Prospect House, with husband Richard
- 1891 Census at Prospect House
The larger question of "where might I find a 'lucky dip' apart from newspaper records is perhaps better as a chat topic.