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Author Locating an individual miner
NikiKL

Joined: 06/12/2012

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Locating an individual miner
Posted: 06/12/2012 23:03:07
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It's a long shot, but getting close to only having long shots left to try to find a missing link in our family tree.

Edward Wones, born c 1760 (place unknown), died 1820 in Hursthill, Staffs in a mining explosion.

Places he is linked with are Shelve, Minsterley, Dudley. We suspected he was a lead miner, although the mine he died in was a limestone mine.

my question is this;
Do records exist of payrolls of mines, or is there any way of locating a specific miner?

Thanks
IP: 2.218.250.228 Edited: 07/12/2012 11:18:07 by NikiKL
AR

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Locating an individual miner
Posted: 07/12/2012 08:57:16
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There are sometimes records still in existence for payrolls in the form of mine reckoning books (the accounts) but survival is extremely patchy. The Derbyshire orefield has quite a lot but that's down to a quirk of history, I'm not sure what might survive elsewhere. The best published source on the Dudley Limestone mines is the editon of Mining History devoted to it (http://www.pdmhs.com/BulletinIndexVolume14.asp) but it's not online. Mike Moore may have a copy for sale,or try the mining museum at Matlock Bath.

Unfortunately, locating records for an individual miner beyond the usual birth, marriage and death in the parish registers is a long shot. The publication listed above may give you some pointers to publicly available records for the Dudley mines, the record office for the area may also advise. You mention your ancestor was a lead miner, how did you find this out, as that might point you towards where he'd mined lead.

--

I want you to kill Nicholas Parsons, and I want you to make it clean. But if you can't make it clean, make it messy. If you can't make it messy, make it noisy. And if you can't make it noisy, make it silly!
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NikiKL

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Locating an individual miner
Posted: 07/12/2012 11:51:55
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AR wrote:

You mention your ancestor was a lead miner, how did you find this out, as that might point you towards where he'd mined lead.


One of the issues with this man is many are researching him, there are bits of info from several people (even a genealogist hired in the 80s).
I just asked my dad how we came to the "lead mine" conclusion, and he seems to think its a based purely on places he lived being close proximity to lead mines.

So more important question, would a limestone miner be specific to limestone, or able to mine anything? I think personally as we KNOW he died in limestone quarry, this should be the main focus.

We have only estimated his DOB from his death record, and know Shelve is where he married and Minsterley is where his 9 children were born.

thanks for the link, will check that out! Smile




IP: 2.218.250.228 Edited: 14/12/2012 16:28:39 by NikiKL
AR

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Posted: 07/12/2012 14:05:48
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If he was resident at Minsterley for a long time, then it's quite possible he was a lead miner, there are some sizeable lead mines just down the road at Snailbeach and beyond. Contact the Shropshire Mines Trust at http://shropshiremines.org.uk/snailbeach/index.htm, though one of their members may respond to this thread, and see what they can suggest for you to try.

As for a link with the limestone mine where he died, the skillset required to work in a lead mine would be easily compatible with that needed in a limestone mine, so if the work dried up in one, a miner could easily shift to another. Moving across to coal mining was quite common with lead miners if they found themselves out of work, but maybe your forebear preferred stone mining to the coal pit?

--

I want you to kill Nicholas Parsons, and I want you to make it clean. But if you can't make it clean, make it messy. If you can't make it messy, make it noisy. And if you can't make it noisy, make it silly!
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rufenig

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Posted: 07/12/2012 14:33:51
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I am not aware of any detailed records of the Shropshire mines from that date. Records giving names of employees are pretty much non existant.
At that time the big Shelve mines would have been Roman Gravels & the Grit mines.
Walking distance from Minsterley, Snailbeach mine was working, with a large workforce.
The only period report (Snailbeach) I have seen is "Capt. Absalom Francis 17 March 1827 (SRO/14/148)
The next is Stephen Eddy 31/10/1856 (SRO 2847/163)
In this period there were no railways, no Methodist chapels yet (so very few schools.)
How did a worker from rural Shropshire end up in Staffordshire?
Just to get there he may have had to walk! I would imagine coaches were very expensive.
Smartass
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Graigfawr

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Posted: 07/12/2012 19:07:52
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rufenig wrote:

IHow did a worker from rural Shropshire end up in Staffordshire? Just to get there he may have had to walk! I would imagine coaches were very expensive.
Smartass


Stage wagons were cargo carrying equivalents of stage coaches and also carried lots of working class passengers long and short distances. The canals operated passenger carrying 'fly boats' (which also carried packages and small smounts of freight) which were mainly used by working class people. So there were alternatives to walking and stage coaches.

In his autobiography, a Napoleonic private soldier from south west Wales mentioned calculating which was cheaper -to travel a long distance on foot or by stage coach; as the cost of a few days food (he was planning on walking about 35 miles a day if I recall correctly, and on sleeping rough each night) exceeded the cost of the coach, he paid for a 'outside' seat and went by coach. So if a working man had enough money for a few days food he might find it cheaper to go by coach or by stage wagon. Of course if he had no money he would have to beg and / or do casual work and walk.
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NikiKL

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Posted: 10/12/2012 19:35:13
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rufenig wrote:


The only period report (Snailbeach) I have seen is "Capt. Absalom Francis 17 March 1827 (SRO/14/148)
The next is Stephen Eddy 31/10/1856 (SRO 2847/163)

How did a worker from rural Shropshire end up in Staffordshire?

Smartass


He was dead by 1820. And the question you ask is one we would all love the answer to Smile But if he isn't from Shropshire either, where did he get the means to move around by such great distances?? (He left a little black book with a Knaresborough address in it- which is also a mining area is it not??This is another thing that points us towards him having Yorkshire roots)
Something that I do wonder is how common it was to be a well educated miner? From what I can gather he was quite literate with very neat handwriting. And how likely it would be that a *possible* brother of his could be a school teacher?

Anyway, the mine he died in, I just found out, was the Earl of Dudley's Wrens Nest Mine. His son John Wones became the manager of the mine/quarry, and Edward worked there till his death in 1820. Does anyone know about this one?? Or is there anywhere I can find out?

Thanks
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NikiKL

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Posted: 10/12/2012 21:02:10
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I just stumbled on this too!

http://www.sedgleymanor.com/trades/mines.html

Coseley Moor, Sedgeley. Owner; Wones brothers. Manager AP Taft.
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AR

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Posted: 11/12/2012 09:18:53
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Wren's Nest is one of the Dudley limestone mines IIRC and will be covered in Mining History 14:1 - I don't think Mike has got a copy in but if you contact the Peak District Mining Museum (http://www.pdmhs.com/MiningMuseum.asp) there may still be a copy in stock.

Some working miners were quite literate, I think it just depends whether the opportunity to learn when young had been present and their parents pushed them to do it. I have come across examples in Derbyshire of miners not of privileged backgrounds having received a reasonable education. Also, people would travel for work back then, there are Cornish miners who went to Derbyshire, Derbyshire miners who moved to Yorkshire, and so forth - you can easily walk more than 20 miles a day if you're reasonably fit, and a working miner would have been, or has been mentioned, coach travel was an option.

--

I want you to kill Nicholas Parsons, and I want you to make it clean. But if you can't make it clean, make it messy. If you can't make it messy, make it noisy. And if you can't make it noisy, make it silly!
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historytrog

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Posted: 11/12/2012 09:57:48
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There is a lot of chatter about Edward Wones at Shelve on genealogical websites such as
http://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=626436.msg4748110;topicseen

http://www.cumpston.org.uk/#/cumpston-wones-page-2/4535900658

The chances of finding a record of an ordinary working miner in mining records are not good - even with such an unusual surname as Wones. Few such records are indexed.

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NikiKL

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Posted: 11/12/2012 10:32:42
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historytrog wrote:

There is a lot of chatter about Edward Wones at Shelve on genealogical websites such as
http://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=626436.msg4748110;topicseen

http://www.cumpston.org.uk/#/cumpston-wones-page-2/4535900658



Hi,
The rootschat topic is also me Big Grin ...well spotted though!

I've seen the Cumpston site before too, the owner is also keen to know more of Edward as he is linked with her Cumpstons. There are a good many Woneses in USA who would also love to know...and a fair few in the UK.

I've called the museum and left a message. And found another mine that Edward's grandchildren own in Bilston..."Bran"?

Not that these would help with Edward.

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lozz

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Posted: 11/12/2012 11:59:42
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Ancestors from back then moved around a lot despite popular belief.
Our lot come from Cheshire yet in the 1800's some ended up as quarry workers far away from their birth places, one of them sought of dissapeard when I was doing my family history research, I eventually found him and some how he ended up in the interior of British Columbia gold mining by 1870, he then ended up on Vancouver Island in a coal mine.
Another one also dissapeard off the radar, we knew he was in London c 1830 then nothing, after years of looking around I finally found him again in Boston USA then he dissapeared again, after a lot of head scratching I found him again, he was found dead on the Panama Trail c 1851 this was around the time of the Californian gold rush (1849)
Miners and budding miners only had three ways to get there. One way was overland, highly risky, the other was a sea voyage around the Horn, also highly risky, the preffered way was a sea voyage to the mouth of the Chagres river, from there it was a relatively short distance through the jungle etc to Panama City once there it would have been a voyage on a mail boat up to 'Frisco then head inland.
However the Panama Trail was also the haunt of robbers theives and murderers.
Our relative that was found dead on the Panama Trail was a very educated man and was in the book trade yet somehow he ended up in that hell hole, why? we don't know as yet.
Another branch of our family also ended up in Australia in the gold rush there, one went out and after a while sent for his brother, his brother was only there for a few weeks before he was killed by a fall of ground, all a bit sad.

Lozz.
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Boy Engineer

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Posted: 11/12/2012 12:09:40
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he seems to think its a bit of a stab in the dark, especially as he died in the limestone mine/quarry.
Not too surprised that he died, having been stabbed Wink A warning to us all.
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Graigfawr

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Posted: 11/12/2012 19:29:11
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NikiKL wrote:

rufenig wrote:


Something that I do wonder is how common it was to be a well educated miner? From what I can gather he was quite literate with very neat handwriting.


Literacy rates decreased in the early nineteenth century, so thinking of early to mid Victorian low literacy rates and assuming that the same (or worse) applied in the eighteenth century leads to a false impression. Broadly, literacy rates hit something of a high in the mid and late seventeenth century, slid downwards gently over the eighteenth cventury, and then dropped fairly distinctly in the early nineteenth century to rach a low point before mid century, after which point they rose quite rapidly.

Much would depend on the availability of schooling in the locality he was brought up in, and his family's religious denomination (nonconformists were keen on religious instruction and so had higher literacy rates). The family's sphere of employemnt would also affect literacy rates - craftsmen had higher literacy rates than labourers; metal miners occupied a social strata above labourers and so tended to have slightly higher literacy rates. If his family had had a few under-captians or foremen then there would have been a tradition of literacy. Lots of factors could influence the chance of being literate.
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AR

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Posted: 12/12/2012 10:01:03
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Yes, you do have to bear in mind that experienced hard-rock miners were considered skilled craftsmen - you'd generally start out hauling and winding as a youngster, generally for miners who were older family members, and learn the skills of the job as you went, "graduating" to being a proper miner in your late teens.

--

I want you to kill Nicholas Parsons, and I want you to make it clean. But if you can't make it clean, make it messy. If you can't make it messy, make it noisy. And if you can't make it noisy, make it silly!
IP: 194.159.145.70
John Lawson

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Posted: 12/12/2012 19:33:57
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A couple of points spring to mind on this posting.
The first is that enlightened companies such as the Bllackett-Beaumont and London Lead Company encouraged the setting up of schools and miners libraries.
Leadhills also had a similar set up.
So I would think literacy rates would be be fairly high amongst metal miners.
As to the point of getting aroun in the days of only horses, it is a point that has often perplexed me.
A few years ago now I wrote an article on Thomas Dodds who was the London Lead Co.'s agent at Nenthead. It was his vision that lead to the driving of Smallcleugh horse level and the driving up of Brownley Horse level under Rampgill.
In the process of this research I read part of his journal and in one section he was asked to report on a mine in S.Wales for the L.L.C. and the way it is written infers that he would be on the mining ground within a few days. So how could he be so certain? I can only conclude that even in those days about 1810 or so if you had money you could get about the country.
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NikiKL

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Posted: 14/12/2012 16:36:38
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So that leads me to ask, what kind of earnings he may have had. I presume that he would of been on a low wage, and with 8 living children, I guess not much was left over at the next pay day?

Thanks
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John Lawson

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Posted: 14/12/2012 20:50:11
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When conducting my research on Thomas Dodds you come up with theebweeewkly rate of about 10 shillings a week for a pickman(i.e. a lead miner).
Out of this he would have to pay for gunpowder and ware on his tools.
In Nenthead miners were rented cottages according to their position within the company so an overman would have a larger one than a simple pickman.
Hauliers generally were paid less. The company encouraged all miners to work their gardens in their spare time and grow vegetables for their families.
I do not think they hard much spare cash !
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