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Database of Musicians Active Before 1900

johnadams 21 Feb 11 - 02:49 PM
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From: johnadams
Date: 21 Feb 11 - 02:49 PM

The British Library houses a great number of historical books of the dances, tunes and songs that enriched the lives of the ordinary person, but who was that ordinary person? Some of them were musicians who played to entertain others - buskers and itinerants right through to theatre musicians and jobbing professionals.

While we can view the raw material of their trade in the form of written and printed music, information about the people themselves is hidden away in parish records, newspaper archives and census returns.

Researcher Keith Chandler has accumulated a number of references from such sources and they are presented here . Perhaps one of them has the same surname as you. Maybe they were an ancestor. You may find a reference to a musician from your home town. It could give you an insight into the cultural life that existed in your area a hundred or more years ago.

In some cases the information only consists of a census return which describes the person as a musician. Other references are detailed and paint a picture. The project is in its infancy and it will take time to upload the individual files and make them searchable but in the meantime you can access the information in pdf form.

Please note - The rest of the site is non functioning as it is still in preparation - it won't look it does now and the proper site will take a long time to come on line. I think that, given the magnificent effort that Keith Chandler has put into amassing this information, it should be available sooner rather than later.

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