Blog29 Nov 2011
The Society of Genealogists has the largest family history research library in the UK and we’re pleased to be working in association with them to bring you millions of fantastic records to grow your family tree.
Here we focus on one set of records from the Society and the rich detail just waiting to be discovered.
Business Index 1892-1987
This is an index to British shopkeepers, businessmen and women and their companies. The source material is a series of books published in the 1890s, which contain information about local corporations and businesses to provide a history of the area, its attractions, major institutions and commercial life.
What makes these records so special is the amount of detail they can tell you about your ancestors. The businesses included in these records have a minimum of a paragraph about each shop or company, often showing a photograph of it or the proprietor. Family members working in the business are usually listed and, if a person is prominent in local society, the entry often mentions membership of the corporation and leisure activities, including involvement with clubs, charities and other institutions.
Such details really give you a rounded picture of what your ancestors were like as people and add colour and context to your family tree. It’s very difficult to find this kind of information elsewhere, so it’s definitely worth searching for your ancestors in these records to see what you can find out.
We’ve been searching the Business Index and have found JP Barrow, chairman of Cadbury Brothers Ltd and British Cocoa & Chocolate Company Ltd. The record tells us that Barrow’s was ‘one of the first great firms to adopt the ‘Welfare’ idea in the interests of its employees’ and goes to on credit him with creating an ‘atmosphere of contentment‘ in the workplace.
Alongside Barrow is Arthur Butterfield, director of Butterfields Ltd. The record details Butterfield’s employment history, as well as telling us that he enjoys motoring, tennis and dancing: