ganseys Genealogy History Knitting

Knitting Ancestors

Now look what I’ve gone and done….
Family Tree Magazine, October, 2010

In this month’s ‘Family Tree’ magazine (October issue), an article about tracing your knitting ancestors.

If you have any ancestry in a fishing port, or along the rivers and canals and inland waterways of the UK… this may be for you!

I took a stroll (metaphorically) through the Dales village of Hawes,  (and the Cornish village of Polperro) on the night of the 1841 Census. And there I found ‘knitters’, ‘fancy knitters’, ‘hand knitters’ and ‘knitsters’. And this soul, in Aysgarth:

“Jane Asbridge, 70, Knitting Stockings”

Yore Mills, Aysgarth

Censuses were done of a Sunday evening. I could imagine the Enumerator knocking on the door and Jane coming to answer with her knitting in her hand (easier to carry it with you if you have a sheath tucked in your belt and maybe a clue holder about your person too!)

Hopefully, in the article, I’ve given a few pointers as to finding your knitting ancestors.

I have only one known ancestor who is actually listed by a Census enumerator as a knitter. She was my first cousin 3 times removed, Lillian Stephenson who was 12 in 1891 and down on the Shipley census as ‘Stocking Knitter’. Lillian lived with her Westmorland-born grandfather, a carpenter – and hosiery knitting was strong in Westmorland, so I’d imagine that was how a little girl growing up in Shipley, Yorkshire,  at the end of the 19thC was hand knitting so actively she had it listed as her job!

Dales stockings from Dales Countryside Museum, Hawes

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