Researching 19th century wives left behind by migration


One of the untold stories of emigration from Britain is that of the wives left behind when their husbands went abroad to work. This presentation will describe the tactics used to explore the lives of these women, of whom we often only get tantalizing misleading glimpses. It draws on the speaker’s research into the ‘married widows’ of Cornwall, where so many communities experienced large-scale emigration throughout the 19th century. It will focus on how to locate the scattered and fragmentary sources for these wives, as well how to get the most from more familiar records.

Migration Women