Monday, 14 July 2014

Farmer's Directories

Many of my ancestors were agricultural labourers, farm servants, or farm owners.

My 2nd great-grandfather, Alexander Mavor, a young man of 23 at the time of the 1851 census of Scotland was working with his brother Francis in Methlick, less than 10 miles from his home in Ellon, Aberdeenshire. He was an agriculture labourer on the farm of Jonathan Whitehead. So I wanted to know what kind of farm it was and what kind of work he did.  I did a search for the name Jonathan Whitehead, clicked books from the drop-down menu, and up came Volume 11 of the "Coates's Herd Book" for the UK. It is a collection of books of pedigrees of short-horned cattle and their breeders, with a list of subscribers in the back. Just as we do for our human family, they trace their cattle's family tree back to the 1600's.
Also, in the 1865 edition of the book "Field and Fern" (Scottish flocks and herds), it mentions that "... he [Mr. Hay of Shethin] and Mr. Whitehead of Methlick had once a great shorthorn-bull trade, but the latter retired in '56". Aha, so it was a cattle farm, breeding Shorthorn Aberdeen Angus.

In reply to my pedigree and social register articles, a reader recently said there should be a register for agriculture labourers.  Well, they may well be in the regular town directories or post office directories of where they live.  But if your ancestor was a farmer .... labourer, servant, or owner - I did find a few links of interest, including some Farmers Registers and Breeders Registers.  

Relevant Links:

A century of Agriculture in Aberdeenshire (member names pgs 85-90)

Lovell/s Farmer's Register of the garden of the Eastern Townships 1909

Farmer's Directories - Illinois, Indiana, Michigan

Reports of tenant farmers' delegates on the Dominon of Canada

Coates's Herd Books - UK

Field and Fern (Scotland) 1865

Farmer's Register - US (a few editions)

The Wool Grower and Stock Register (USA 1852)

The Country Gentleman's Magazine (UK)

Westmorland agriculture, 1800-1900 (UK)

Supremacy of Aberdeen-Angus Cattle

Officers, students andgraduates of the Kansas State Agricultural College (several years) 

Prizes: l'exposition de Montréal et carnaval des fermiers de l'Est :cinquième exposition provinciale, septembre 11-19, 1896

The Union Publishing Co's (of Ingersoll) farmers' and business directory for the counties of Halton, Waterloo and Wellington, Ont – 1906

Union Publishing Co's farmers and business directory for the counties of Bruce, Grey and Simcoe - Ontario

Morrey's Farmers and Business Directory, County of Haldimand, Ont; Containing the Following Valuable Information: The Name, with the Post Office Address, Lot and Concession, of each Farmer; also whether a Freeholder or a Tenant – 1884

Members of the Highland and Agricultural Society (w/members UK, AU, NZ,CA)

Farmer's Cabinet and Herd Book, PA

Farm and Fireside, OH

Herd Book of the National Pig Breeders, UK 1914

The Canada Herd Book, 1867


  1. Very beneficial to researching my paternal side of the family. Many thanks for putting this valuable information together.

    1. You are welcome. I'm glad I could help. I am trying to find info on all aspects of our ancestors lives. Use the above buttons to share the blog with other people and groups.


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