Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Book Review: Tracing Your Docker Ancestors

This April 2019 publication is another in the more than 50-book "Tracing Your ..." series from publisher Pen and Sword. They range alphabetically from "Air Force" to "Yorkshire".
This volume on Dockers is fairly typical of those where specific occupational records are scarce. The first chapter: Getting Started: Basic Family History Documents covers sources like civil registration, census, newspapers, and directories. The following chapters treat aspects of life on the docks: The Origins of the Dock Labour Force, Daily Life on the Docks, Tools and Equipment, Trade Unions, Beyond the Dock Wall: Dockside Communities, Docks and Dockers During the World Wars, The National Dock Labour Scheme, Dock Strikes and the Decline of the Dockers 1967-1989. 
There are extensive references on where to find resources which are mainly administrative. Unless an ancestor was involved in that administration, such as being a union official or for some other reason stood out from his peers, you won't find much personal information. A very few, such as the archive of the National Amalgamated Stevedores and Dockers' Union, 1880-1982, do include individual's names. A few others that include names are closed.
The book concludes with a ten-page glossary of types of docker and two-page index.

Tracing Your Docker Ancestors (Paperback)
A Guide for Family Historians
By Dr. Alex Ombler
Imprint: Pen & Sword Family History
Series: Tracing Your Ancestors
Pages: 150
ISBN: 9781526744043
Published: 25th April 2019


Anonymous said...

How early do the records go or reference to dock workers in this book?

JDR said...

Chapter 2 on Origins of the Dock Labour Force refers to the period 1840 - 1914.