Tag Archives: Farm Servants

Book Recommendation: Farm Life in North-East Scotland 1840-1914 by Ian Carter

Farm Life Book

A good book to read if you want to know about the working lives of farm servants, agricultural labourers and crofters, and especially those who lived in Aberdeenshire and neighbouring counties. Takes a sociological stance and is an academic book, but gives a very thorough account of a lost way of life. Very good on the social relationships and “class” structure of farming communities, and the working lives of farm servants. Excellent bibliography for further reading.

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Farm servant life in north-east Aberdeenshire

It’s been a busy week with little time for family history, but I’ve managed to write an article about how farm servants in my ancestors’ neck of the woods (the Buchan region in north-east Aberdeenshire) lived and worked. You can find it by clicking on the articles tab.

I’ve also done a bit more research into the lives of the offspring of William Fraser and his wife Christian Hutcheon. Most have been relatively easy to discover in the records, and so piece a life story together. But oh, Janet aka Jessie Fraser, what a tangled web you wove! I’m now up to five illegitimate children (including a pair of twins) with four fathers, and I suspect there’s one more to go. My favourite has to be this birth entry:

20 June 1872 Jane Fraser illegitimate at Mosside, Cruden, mother Jessie Fraser domestic servant.
Register of Corrected Entries:
With reference to No. 45 in the Register Book of Births for the year 1872 insert the following on the authority of a Certificate in the Form of Schedule (F):- In an action relating to the paternity of a child named …… ……… born June 20th 1872 against William Simpson shoemaker Peterhead, the Sherriff Court of Aberdeen & Kincardine (Peterhead District) on the 17th day of September 1872 found that the said child was the illegitimate child of the said Jessie Fraser and William Simpson. Entry corrected on 7 March 1873 at Cruden.

Janet aka Jessie clearly knew how valuable acknowledgment of paternity was! As this was her fifth illegitimate child, by 1872 she obviously knew the ropes very well. She never did get married but from her census entries she appears to have been well looked after by her children and grandchildren, was running a shop in Peterhead in 1911, and lived till the age of 76, which wasn’t bad going at all for those days.