As I work through the patterns in Miss Lambert’s My Knitting Book, published in 1843, I find myself thinking a lot about what life was like for my own family at the time. I have traced my family tree back to the 1840s on several sides and thought it would be interesting to take a snapshot look at what my ancestors were up to in the 1840s:
Dartford, Kent, England. My third great grandfather on my grandmother’s paternal side was a solicitor who had six children. He was a man of some means with a second home in London. According to the census records they had several servants including a nanny, a cook and a maid. I was very lucky to recently be able to purchase a memoir written by his sister who was born in 1844 in which she writes an account of her life including some lovely memories from the 1840s/1850s. I love the thought of her mother knitting baby clothes from a book like Miss Lamberts.
Bramfield, Suffolk, England. My third great grandfather on my grandmother’s maternal side was a veterinary surgeon with the 10th Royal Hussars. He was a child in the 1840s but later travelled to the Crimea, New Zealand (“War With the Maoris”) and Afghanistan (First Afghanistan Campaign) with the British military.
New Zealand. Another third great grandfather on my grandmother’s side emigrated from England to New Zealand in 1838. The story goes that he emigrated to New Zealand first, and then sent for his wife and two children to emigrate to New Zealand bringing with them the tools to set up a saw mill and carpentry shop including a lathe, cross-cut saws, vertical steam saw, mill saw and carpenters tools. His wife procured the equipment, packed everything up and travelled to New Zealand with her two children.
Buckingham Registre, Quebec, Canada. This area is now part of Gatineau, Quebec. My fourth great grandfather on my grandfather’s paternal side was a storekeeper and had at least nine children. He was born in the West Indies and by the time of his marriage in 1842, both parents were deceased. I believe he may have been born in Trelawny, Cornwall Jamaica but need to find more evidence to support this (maybe a trip to Jamaica!).
Sainte-Marie de Beauce, Quebec, Canada. My third great grandfather on my grandfather’s maternal side was born in 1834 and by the time of his marriage in 1856 was a farmer.
I imagine that the wealthier, English-speaking ancestors had access to knitting books like Miss Lambert’s and I would love to learn more about French language knitting books, knitting for the Crimean War and early New Zealand knitting manuals!