This guide was last updated in 2009

Genuki: Agricultural Labourers and Emigration in the Early 1800s

This page, part of the excellent Genuki genealogy portal, focuses on one well-documented Wiltshire community to explain the migration of agricultural labourers to Australia.

Migration was motivated largely by unendurable poverty and this article includes the heartbreaking original testimony of a mother of six in Calne. In 1842, she said she “never had butcher’s meat and for milk, they were dependant on the vicar giving them a little...” To quote her own words: “We never know what it is like to get enough to eat; at the end of the meal the children are always asking for more – I then say, ‘you don’t want your father to go to prison do you?’”.

The presentation may be lacklustre, but it’s a fascinating topic of relevance to anyone whose relatives endured this period in Britain’s rural history.

Cambridgeshire History
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