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Our ancestors moved around.


Loyal Member
Staff member
We often hear this myth that before the railways of the 1840s that if any of our ancestors lived in a certain rural village then that is all they ever lived in back to the Conquest. Unless it was to UK cities like London or overseas like Australia or America the conception is that 95% of our ancestors only ever travelled as far as their local market town.

Well from what I have found in my ancestry before 1840 much less that 5% of my rellies stayed within 5 miles of their birthplace. I have had people moving to the other side of the county well before 1840ish and even to another part of England.

For instance a Joe Soap born in say Saffron Walden in Essex in 1800 could have a grandmother who came from central Suffolk, 20 miles north, and then she herself had a gran who came from North Suffolk, and had a parent from Norfolk.