Project for Servants in Census Records?

+2 votes
Hello all,

Recently, while I've been busy studying for exams (I'm totally going to fail chemistry), I've been using WikiTree research as a way to give my mind a break from trying to remember dates in the Nazi regime and memorising the ionic structures of periodic elements. In doing so, I've recently taken on the family of an English man named Francis Seymour, and in doing so, focused more on Census records (as he had a lot of children). While I looked at the records, I began to pay attention to the amount of people who had servants. Now, clearly this isn't only an occurance in England (most of Europe and America have also used servants in the past), and I was wondering whether there is a Project out there somewhere working to add these servants to wikitree and finding their families? If not, would anyone be interested in one?


asked in Genealogy Help by Amy Utting G2G6 Pilot (117k points)

4 Answers

+3 votes
There were times when a significant percentage of the population were in service. I don’t see what would be achieved by trying to put so many people into a project.
answered by Lynda Crackett G2G6 Pilot (618k points)
+4 votes
I've noticed multiple cases in my middle class ancestors where young teenagers went into service, but later took up a different career when older or married. I notice when tracing a child through the Census,  and am fortunate that they have uncommon names.

One challenge is that the ages of servants seem to be less accurate in a census as the head of the family cares more about his or her own relatives, and servants are normally listed after relatives, by which point the head is probably getting tired of the thing and might not bother to make careful enquiries.

Personally I'd prefer a project to put whole families in from the census, over multiple years then look for gaps when a lot of people are done. Wikitreers aren't quite numerous enough yet to do that in a reasonable timescale but perhaps one day.

answered by Tim Partridge G2G6 Mach 2 (24.5k points)
+2 votes
Other than being a possibly interesting demographics project, is there genealogical problem that this might solve? I can't think of one offhand. There would be a lot of random people thrown together, some of whom may have been in service for only a few years and then off to other things.

In any case, there is a Category for servants (Category:Servants) that exists and has some sub-categories depending on type. I don't see a need for a Project.
answered by Doug McCallum G2G6 Pilot (243k points)
+3 votes
I can see all the difficulties in such a project that others have mentioned, especially the potential size of any such project. But if you could find ways to treat the subject in manageable chunks I think it could be pretty interesting. For example all the servants in a particular household, or from a particular village or something like that.
answered by Deborah Pate G2G6 Mach 2 (23.7k points)

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