How to find cheese-makers in your family history

By Rosemary Collins, 3 December 2018 - 10:50am

In the latest episode of Made in Great Britain, things get cheesy as the team heads to Wensleydale. Nell Darby picks the best online resources to find your cheese-maker ancestors

Made in Great Britain cheesemakers sheep Wensleydale
Chef Charlton Nicoll learns more about sheep farming as Made in Great Britain goes to Wensleydale (Credit: BBC/Endemol Shine/ Rudi Gordon)

Made in Great Britain returns on BBC Two at 9pm on Friday 7 December.

This week, the team of craftworkers are getting cheesy as they head to Wensleydale in Yorkshire.

There, they discover the surprising history of one of Britain's most beloved cheeses.

Cheese may come from the Latin word 'caseus', which gives an idea of its long history.

It was first produced industrially in 1815.

In 1851, a New York dairy farmer started producing it in an assembly line.

Many of our ancestors may have been involved in its production - from sheep farmers to those packaging it to sell.

Here are three online resources that will help you explore the topic further:

 

Spitalfields Life

Spitalfields Life cheesemaker

A useful webpage detailing all known potters in the Stoke area, including their pottery marks and the factories they worked in.

 

The National Archives

The National Archives cheesemakers

The National Archives holds various cheese-related records, including files relating to the Stilton Cheese Makers Association from 1937 to 1980 (JV 5/216) and the wills of 18th and 19th century cheesemongers.

 

Georgian Newspaper Project

Georgian Newspaper Project cheesemakers

Newspapers can be a great resource to locate a cheesemonger ancestor - and the Bath Archives' Georgian Newspaper Project includes mentions of local cheesemongers taken from the Bath Chronicle via a searchable online database.
 

Don't miss the December 2018 issue of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine for much more expert family history advice

 

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