Author Topic: Mole-Catcher as a profession  (Read 5535 times)

Offline pelirroja

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Mole-Catcher as a profession
« on: Saturday 16 May 15 20:37 BST (UK) »
My grandfather, James Renwick (1890-1976), immigrated to the U.S. in 1913.  Before he left Scotland, he lived in the town of Denholm and was a mole-catcher.  His father William Johnstone Renwick (1837-1938) also listed his profession as a mole-catcher.  Furthermore, I have traced other Renwick family members in the Borders region who worked as mole-catchers.  This goes as far back as the late 1700s.  Does anyone know how a mole-catcher could enough money to support a family and where would he work?  What equipment would he use?  I have never seen trapping moles as a job.

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Offline Berlin-Bob

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Re: Mole-Catcher as a profession
« Reply #1 on: Saturday 16 May 15 20:42 BST (UK) »
Hi pelirroja,

there are a couple of RootsChat topics about molecatchers here (including some and superstitions about moles)

Rootschat Reference Library,
http://surname.rootschat.com/lexicon/reflib-lexicon.php?letter=M

regards,
Bob

ps, a tip: the topics are longer than 1 page, so just click on the "print" button. They won't actually get printed, but they will be shown all together on one browser page.

pps.
as there are new facts and new links on this topic, I have added it to the Reference Library :)
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My research interests (and data found) can be seen on my website:   http://www.margulies-chronicles.com/

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Offline Mike in Cumbria

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Re: Mole-Catcher as a profession
« Reply #2 on: Saturday 16 May 15 20:49 BST (UK) »
There are still people working as mole catchers in my part of the world.  Some of them combine it with other agricultural odd jobbery, but would define themselves as mole catchers on a census.


Edit - here are some of the local ones 

http://www.mole-catcher.co.uk/mole-trapping.php?county=Cumbria
Como le dijo el mosquito a la rana, "Mas vale morir en el vino que vivir en el agua"

Offline hanes teulu

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Re: Mole-Catcher as a profession
« Reply #3 on: Saturday 16 May 15 21:14 BST (UK) »
www.guildofbritishmolecatchers.co.uk/traps-ancient-and-modern.html

In the winter of 1903/1904 molecatchers were getting sixpence a skin as a result of the fashion of the day. By August 1904 the price had fallen 80%.
S. Wales, Somerset, Devon - Oxenham

Aberavon - Hopkin/s, Jenkins, Thomas
St. Brides/Wick - Jenkins
Llanblethian -  Price
Abergwynfi -  Han(d)ford
Pontardawe -  Lewis.

Offline hanes teulu

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Re: Mole-Catcher as a profession
« Reply #4 on: Saturday 16 May 15 21:30 BST (UK) »
The Abergavenny Chronicle, 13 Oct 1916

A mole catcher has been granted temporary exemption (from call up) on the ground that his work is of national importance
S. Wales, Somerset, Devon - Oxenham

Aberavon - Hopkin/s, Jenkins, Thomas
St. Brides/Wick - Jenkins
Llanblethian -  Price
Abergwynfi -  Han(d)ford
Pontardawe -  Lewis.

Offline pelirroja

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Re: Mole-Catcher as a profession
« Reply #5 on: Sunday 17 May 15 00:19 BST (UK) »
Thank you to all of you who replied to my query about mole-catchers.  I certainly learned a great deal about the profession of my ancestors and some of the odd superstitions about moles.  I also didn't know about the RootsChat library.  It was fun!

Bev

Offline barryd

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Re: Mole-Catcher as a profession
« Reply #6 on: Sunday 17 May 15 02:10 BST (UK) »

My great great grandfather James Whammond born 1808. Aberlemno, Forfar, died 28 Dec 1888, Kirriemuir, Forfar, was also a Scottish mole catcher. Whether he was employed by an estate or he was freelance working for any customer who needed his services I do not know. Unusual name, unusual occupation.

Offline alan14578

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Re: Mole-Catcher as a profession
« Reply #7 on: Thursday 21 May 15 21:10 BST (UK) »
Pellirrooja. I still have a local friend who is a Dry Stone Dyker and Mole catcher freelance and works mainly on the local Border Golf courses and farmers..He is 82 and still wont retire. In bye gone days they hung the dead moles on the field wire fence to show the farmers how many they caught and how much money they were due. Some people still collect the mole hill earth for their gardens .He originally was registered to use poison from the local chemist but now only uses mole traps set into their runs.Farmers dont like them on their land as apparantly they transmit disease to animals.
A dying breed thats for sure
alan
turnbull- Scottish Borders ,Caithness and East Lothian
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foord/ford -perthshire and borders
crosbie-scot borders
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Offline pelirroja

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Re: Mole-Catcher as a profession
« Reply #8 on: Friday 22 May 15 16:38 BST (UK) »
Thanks for the additional information.  It is all interesting.  I'm using all the comments, facts and superstitions about mole-catchers to create a document to add to my Scottish genealogy.