Family dispersal in rural England: Herefordshire, 1700-1871

Lack, Katherine Joan (2012). Family dispersal in rural England: Herefordshire, 1700-1871. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis tested a methodology for tracing eighteenth- and nineteenth-century migrants, based on the Cambridge Group reconstitution methods. It began with a sample from Whitbourne parish in the under-researched county of Herefordshire, investigating the effect of regional urbanisation and industrialisation on migration choices. Longitudinal family dispersal patterns were traced, and comparisons were made with studies in other regions. The method focused on out-migration, setting spatial mobility in its wider context, and increasing its representativeness by incorporating additional search strategies for less visible groups, including married women. A high tracing rate was achieved, and the method is proposed as a viable tool for analysing migration from small rural parishes which are considered unsuitable for conventional reconstitution studies.

The west midlands industrial areas were not apparently a destination for this population until the second quarter of the nineteenth century, but there were early migrants to Worcester, London, and later to Cheltenham, Cheshire and elsewhere, especially for domestic service and urban service trades. Some familial trends were observable, and others related to land holding, occupation and geographical propinquity. Marriage and dependent children did not prevent migration, but literacy and transport networks were found to be strongly associated with occupational options and distances moved.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of History and Cultures
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain


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