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Mobility in Victorian Times. Interesting.

benny1982

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#1
Hi

I find that in Victorian times couples who later marry live a fair distance apart before they actually get wed. A village where my ancestors came from in Slaugham often wed residents of Brighton, 12 miles away. Many seemed to have wed in Brighton or lodged there then moved back to Slaugham. Slaugham is near the London to Brighton Railway and Road. As brighton has always been popular with people from all over England, residents from all over Sussex probabaly went there on days out or something, or Brighton residents worked in other Sussex areas.

A man and woman who are courting in the 18th and 19th centuries could even have been living in two counties before they married. They knew each other through work, friends, etc. People often commuted remarkable distances in those days as well. Schoolchildren would walk several miles to school everyday. By the 1840s when the railways were invented and coaches were a little faster, people often commuted 15 to 20 miles a day. Especially servants, footmen, coachmen, draymen and the like.

Goes to show how mobile people were in those days, with no cars or buses but with trains, horse and carts and bikes. Many walked.

A person in Victorian times may have even worked where he lived but still knew people from miles away. A man could be a village shop assistant but has a friend who lives 6 or 7 miles away and he is then introduced to his friends sister, or a village girl would have been drinking in the local pub with male servants and coachmen who lived 50 miles away. He could visit the village twice a week and then he could start a relationship and they meet up, and when he gets her pregnant, she moves away 50 miles to be at his house so she can then marry him.


Also I have instances where often if a family were planning a move away from their home parish to a city, often the head of the household went first then his wife and child/children followed a few months later, after enough time for the hubby to get lodgings, a job and get settled. That is why you may see a lodger living alone in London in a census, born Somerset etc and stating he is married but his wife is not in the area. She will soon be joining him. And you may see a woman living in a village who is the head but her hubby is away planning the move from the area.

Ben
 
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#2
Thats all true for many cases, but there were (possibly still are) people who never move more than a mile or two from the place they were born. I think a lot of it depends on what the person does for a living. Certainly some people travelled due to work, or lack of work, but others were pretty much rooted to the spot by their occupations.
One branch of my tree contains a family who were farmers for several generations, they lived in a very small village in Kent where there was ( as far as I can tell) only one other family, so for at least three generations they married people from this other family, a little inbreeding doesnt seem to have carried the same stigma in rural areas a century or two ago!
It seems that they never even walked the 3 or 4 miles to the next village to look for a potential partner.
The further you go back the more common this type of story becomes. The coming of the industrial revolution and the railways caused huge changes in many families, but before that it seems it was rather rare to travel far from where you were born, and even after that many agricultural occupations effectively tied a person to a particular piece of land.

Jon
 

p.risboy

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#3
I have only got back to the late 18th century with my IVES side of the family, and you could almost 'scoop' up the whole lot of them in one sweep.
Pretty much all of them, lived and worked in a radius of about 2-3 miles.
I have plotted there 'addresses' on 'google earth' and it was quite astounding to see. Some later generations even took over the same job and household.
Then come to 1910 onwards, and it looks like someone had dropped a pebble in a pond. They scattered to Kent, Liverpool, Portsmouth, London, Australia, America and Canada.
Travel became an option then, as mentioned, and so it began in earnest. With all the new railway and ship connections, as with flghts now, everywhere became so much more accessable.
And as we all know, this makes tracing rellies that much harder.:'(

Sreve:)
 

benny1982

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#4
Hi

I do think that after 1844, people travelled many miles in search of work and even dated a girl 15 miles away from them. It became quite popular after the railway inventions and the Industrial Revolution of the 1700s.

Ben
 

p.risboy

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#5
Hi

I do think that after 1844, people travelled many miles in search of work and even dated a girl 15 miles away from them. It became quite popular after the railway inventions and the Industrial Revolution of the 1700s.

Ben
Also Benny and Jon, I may be wrong, but was there a 3rd class section added to the trains so the 'poorer' folk could travel, albeit in not much more than 'cattle trucks, which allowed more movement.
Oh yes, and more income for the railway companies.:rolleyes:

Steve.:)
 

Littlemo

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#7
Hi All,
Regarding this mobility lark,over the course of my 64 years I"ve moved house around 18 times! Now since looking up info on my rel"ies Every Census I look at they"ve moved. I"m starting to think it must be in the blood!
 

benny1982

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#8
Hi

You may have to consider this thread when trying to trace the father of an illegitimate child. He could have been a man who lived several miles from the mothers parish, ie in the nearest large town.

In 1723 a woman from Chelsea, Middlesex said that the father of her baseborn child was an innkeeper of Stafford. 150 miles apart yet they still knew each other.

I have come across loads of 18th and 19th century illegitimacy returns and bons where the father was someone who lived 10, 20, 30 or more miles from the mother.

Ben
 

duckweed

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#9
I think this increased mobillity was before the Railways as the canals were also a cause of more mobility. One of my ancestors ran a passenger boat between Wigan and Liverpool. Equally on my husbands side there was quick passage from Torksey along the Trent Navigation to Hull etc one way and Doncaster the other way. I'm struck by the fact that many of my husbands Ancestors though born and brought up in Sheffield or Rotherham still married someone whose family came from the same or neighbouring village in Lincolnshire. Was there perhaps a social club where these people all met?
I also think there was often long engagements as is still common in some parts of Ireland whereby the couple both go and seek bigger money elsewhere till they have enough to set up home.
 

benny1982

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#10
Hi

a 15 mile gap between two courting couples was very common. As said that was nothing compared to the distances between other couples. A man in Hampshire could have been seeing a woman in Norfolk in the 19th century if he was say a coachman or servant and divided his time between Hants and Norfolk.

Ben
 

p.risboy

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#11
As said before, most of travel was due to work related issues. Whether it be going from Country Estates to the City residencies, or following the seasonal work.
Trade requirements also figured in the mix. I had rellies travel from High Wycombe in Bucks (centre of furniture industry for years), to work on ship building/fitting out in Liverpool. Went where the money was.

Steve.:)
 

benny1982

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#12
Hi

A person in a servants or beer job or other transport jobs probably had positions at different houses, explaining the move around. He may have been a footman for one house and a wine cellar butler for another.

Work was the huge reason for travelling.

Ben
 

p.risboy

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#13
Hi

A person in a servants or beer job or other transport jobs probably had positions at different houses, explaining the move around. He may have been a footman for one house and a wine cellar butler for another.

Work was the huge reason for travelling.

Ben
I also had a rellie travel Australia for work. In England, he was a thief. :2fun: :2fun: :rolleyes:

Steve.:)
 

benny1982

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#14
Hi

In Victorian Times people would walk 20 miles or so each way to their chosen place of worship. They may have cut through forests or across fields whereas today they are full of roads, motorways and housing estates.

Ben
 

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