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Rainbow is a minor line in my family tree. It begins when a Mary Rainbow married into my Miller line by marrying Robert Miller in Haversham, Bucks in 1873.

Their children were all born in Hanslope, William George Miller (1876), John Miller(1878) and Dinah Kitty Miller (1879).

Mary Rainbow was the daughter of John Rainbow and Kitty Cooke who married in Hanslope Church in 1835. Her other siblings were William, Kitty, Martha, Jane, George and Richard.

Mary Rainbow is a bit of an enigma. In the 1861 census, she is living with her family, aged 20 and described as an 'unmarried daughter'. By 1871 she is living in a separate household, again unmarried but with two daughters, Jane aged 10 and Annie aged 11 months. I have a copy of Annie Rainbows birth certificate from May 1870, Long Street, Hanslope. It proves that Mary was an unmarried mother as no father was entered on the certificate. But two daughters and 10 years apart - it's very puzzling!

Ten years later, Mary had become a Miller and was living with her husband Robert. Still in the household were two lodgers, her father John Rainbow aged 72, and her daughter Jane Rainbow, aged 19.

Mary Rainbow and her daughters were all described as having the occupation of 'Lacemaker' in the census returns. This was a common occupation for women in Buckinghamshire in the 1800's and Hanslope was a centre of excellence for lacemaking, in common with many of the small villages in the area.

Bucks or Pillow Lace - was made by girls who had been taught by their mothers from a very early age and it was a common sight to see women sat in their doorways to catch the light, busy with lace-making cushions on their lap.

Bucks lace was considered to be of very high-quality and production peaked around 1860-70 when lace dealers would pay good money for pieces.

With the industrial revolution, machines began to produce lace (of a far inferior quality) and hand-made pieces began to fetch less and less.