Most of my BALL family worked on the land in South Devon, England. From time to time, there were those rebels who were mariners or blacksmiths (!), but for the most part, my BALL ancestors were described on censuses etc as 'ag lab' - agricultural labourer. Most people (including me), would groan inside at finding another 'ag lab' - in fact, the name is synonymous with 'my people weren't very interesting'. But as I continued to research these ag labs, I began to realise just how important they were.
Others may have their celebrity ancestors, their kings and queens, lords and ladies - and that's fine, too. But where would those kings have been if there hadn't been someone to work the land and put food on the table? This was especially important some hundreds of years ago, when the southwest of Britain (especially) was an agricultural society. Pre-Industrial Revolution, and you were looked up to if you were a farmer.
So, when I find another 'ag lab' in my family tree, I won't groan with disappointment that they weren't nobility. As far as I am concerned - they are on the A-list! the Agricultural List!
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- Wordless Wednesday: Nicholas Ley 1815-1884
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