The working lives of our female ancestors can be tricky to pinpoint. “The census returns do not reveal the full story of female employment,” writes David Hey in Journeys in Family History. “The seasonal or part-time work of women was rarely recorded, especially as the home was the usual place of work, though in fact the earnings of the women… were essential to the well-being of working-class families.”
Keen to redress this skew in the historical record, Graham Barker – in his latest ‘Trading Stories, Working Lives’ article – takes a closer look at Naomi Cave (1830-1906), his 3 x great grandmother. At first glance, the details of her working life are scant; only her time working as a purse maker merits a mention in one census return. Yet some resourceful research helps broaden the picture of her working and domestic life.
Read the full story here: Naomi Cave – a Victorian purse maker, pub landlady and devoted mother
You might also like to take a look at the other articles in our Trading Stories, Working Lives series:
The Caves of Leicester – Tories or Whigs?
William and Samuel Whittle, yeoman farmers and rabbit warreners of Charnwood
Nathaniel Orringe, miller and baker of Shepshed
Tom Crew, football referee and broadcaster
Samuel Taylor, beadle of Loughborough
Thomas Norman, elastic web weaver
John W Barker & Son, painters and decorators
Mary Ann Norman, Victorian laundress of Paradise Place
John Collins, Victorian fishmonger and game dealer
John and George Firn, monumental masons
Polkey boatmen of Loughborough
The Harrisons: gardeners, nurserymen and seeds merchants