How to find cheese-makers in your family history

On Made in Great Britain, the team discover Wensleydale's history of cheese-making. Nell Darby picks the best online resources to find your cheese-maker ancestors


Cheese may come from the Latin word ‘caseus’, which gives an idea of its long history. It was first produced industrially in 1815. In 1851, a New York dairy farmer started producing it in an assembly line. Many of our ancestors may have been involved in cheese-making – from sheep farmers to those packaging it to sell. Here are three online resources that will help you explore the topic further:


Spitalfields Life

Spitalfields life

This blog includes a look at the traditional cheese-making process with cheese-maker William Oglethorpe from Bermondsey.

The National Archives

The National Archives

The National Archives holds various cheese-related records, including files relating to the Stilton Cheese Makers Association from 1937 to 1980 (JV 5/216) and the wills of 18th and 19th century cheesemongers.

Georgian Newspaper Project

Bath Record Office

Old newspapers can be a great resource to locate a cheesemonger ancestor – and the Bath Archives’ Georgian Newspaper Project includes mentions of local cheesemongers taken from the Bath Chronicle via a searchable online database.