I’ve been doing a little more digging around the whole family history thing, and I reckon that I’m probably correct in my supposition that most of the people with the Moncur surname adopted it due to their association with the area around Inchture.
I need to do some proper searching of the eighteenth century records to be sure but looking at the rough geographical spread of references to people named Moncur that seems a reasonable supposition.
I still need to sort out my line of descent from before 1814 and I suspect that will involve me signing up to Ancestry or MyHeritage to leverage off other information held there.
And now a confession – I actually don’t think my family history is remarkable or especially interesting – it’s quite clear that a lot of them shovelled shit in one way or another for a living.
What is potentially rather more interesting is the impact of the land tenure system on the movement of people after the mid 1750’s – essentially before 1750 the land was worked semi communally on the run rig system by groups of related people.
When this changed to individual farms being worked on fixed tenancies with the farmworkers being hired for a six monthly contract this had an impact on where people lived.
Younger men, especially if they were skilled as ploughmen, would move between farms, and young women would likewise move between farms as maids of all work – something that a number of writers have blamed for a higher than average rate of births out of wedlock – put a group of young men and women together on an isolated farm and the inevitable happened.
This seems to have been a genuine phenomenon, rather than an expression of a Victorian moral panic about the the feckless poor breeding irresponsibly.
So, as a winter project I though I would trace my family back two or three generations more, say to the 1750’s or thereabouts and then trace the various siblings back to sometime around 1900 to see what jobs they did and where they lived, a sort of family microhistory if you like.
Personally I’ve always been more interested in social history and how people loved and lived
as in this picture of a gentleman’s privy from No 10 Quality Row in Kingston on Norfolk Island, than the doings of the great and the good …
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