Missing (but now found) from the 1911 census transcription

12 Feb

The birth certificate of Walter Henry BOXALL encouraged me to investigate what happened to his mother Alice Ruth and her husband Walter William WEST, one source I checked was the 1911 census.

It took me quite a bit of searching to find the couple and their five children. I had almost given up on finding them, even trying a search of the passengers lists to see if they had left the country. I found a death entry in the GRO indexes that seemed to indicate that Alice was still living in Sussex when she died in 1968, and this encouraged me to continue searching.

I tried so many different searches, it didn’t help from my side that I didn’t have a reliable date of birth for Walter William WEST, but it expected to be able to find the couple together in Sussex, somewhere near Chichester.

Eventually I found Walter William WEST, living in Cocking, Sussex, according to the transcription he had six children, but his wife was missing. Curiously there were two sons with the same name (Charles), age (9 years) and place of birth (West Dean, Sussex). I thought that a bit bizarre, but all was revealed when I checked the actual census page.

There was only one Charles on the page, and there was Alice the wife of Walter William. In the transcription Charles had been duplicated and somehow Alice had been missed altogether. I have submitted a correction, in fact six or seven corrections, so that hopefully anyone searching for Alice in future will not have the same problem as me.

Ironically, this particular page was one of the neatest I have seen in my searches, Walter William WEST had the sort of handwriting that I wish all my relations had, clear and legible, not what you would expect from a labourer on the railways.

Generally though I have found that the 1911 census transcription is pretty good, although I do find the odd mistake now and then, but nothing as major as an individual actually missing.

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