Tag Archives: 1911 census

My to-do list goes out the window

5 Jan

Well it hasn’t quite yet, but I did get rather distracted yesterday and almost completely forgot about what I was supposed to be doing. It was inevitable that something more interesting would come up, and it did.

I decided to make a late Christmas present to myself of a six month subscription to the 1911 census on findmypast.co.uk. I knew I had plenty of relations (and a few ancestors) to find, but wasn’t really expecting to find anything out of the ordinary.

A couple of interesting things turned up which I wasn’t expecting, like the fact that Thomas DRIVER my 2x great-grandfather re-married after the death of his first wife. His first wife Ellen VINALL died in 1899 and he married Harriett DEACON in 1908, something that I probably wouldn’t have found out otherwise.

The biggest surprise of all was the re-appearance of my 3x great-aunt Mary TROWER. She is the only one of the thirteen children of Henry and Jane TROWER (my 3x great-grandparents) of Henfield, Sussex, who I had not been able to “kill off”.

She had fallen of the radar after the 1881 census, where she had been working as a nurse at Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum. I had no idea what she did after that, did she marry? Did she have any children? Did she leave the country? When did she die?

Now I know a bit more. She turned up in 1911 at her brother-in-law and sister’s (James and Martha SUMMERFIELD) house in Newdigate, Surrey. She was a widow and her married name was MARX (once again I am blessed with an uncommon surname).

It didn’t take long to find her marriage in 1884 to Emanuel MARX. According to the 1891 census he was a commercial traveller from Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Emanuel died at the end of 1891, and by the 1901 census Mary is on her own down at Brighton, Sussex. Everything suggests there weren’t any children.

As the couple were married in Pancras Registration District I expected to find them in the London Parish Registers at Ancestry.co.uk, but they are nowhere to be found. I suspect this means it wasn’t a Church of England marriage, the easiest way to find out will be to order a copy of the marriage certificate.

So at last I know when Mary died as well. Her death was registered in Reigate Registration District in Q3 1918, but I am not sure if she would still have been with the SUMMERFIELD family at the time. It would be interesting to get her death certificate to see where exactly she was and perhaps locate her place of burial.

I am glad I bought that subscription to the 1911 census, it has answered a long standing question, which I had actually forgotten about, so it was well worth the money on that count alone.

What are genealogists of the future going to have to look forward to?

27 Nov

This story on the BBC News website caught my eye the other day. The basic story is that Guy Etchells has used a Freedom of Information request to try and gain access to details from the National Registration enumeration, which took place on the 29th September 1939.

The implication is that like his previous request to access the 1911 census, this could possibly lead to an early release of the data, like it did eventually for the 1911 census (and then presumably similar moaning about the price and quality of the transcription).

Given that the 1931 census has been destroyed and there was no census in 1941 (due to the Second World War), the data contained within this enumeration will probably help fill in a few gaps for some genealogists who are struggling to get past the first few generations of their family tree.

Personally I don’t think there would be much contained in the enumeration that would be of importance to me, and it is certainly not something that I think I shall be getting to excited about.

Of course there are many issues involved in deciding whether the data should be made available, not least of which is the fact that many of the individuals listed will still be alive, and in much greater numbers than was the case with the 1911 census.

What worries me most is what future generations of genealogists are going to have to look forward to?

If this data is released early then there will be nothing left between the 1921 and 1951 census. Assuming that the hundred year rule applies, between 2022 and 2052 genealogists will have very little left to look forward to. Put yourself in their shoes, could you imagine going for 30 years without the release of a major new data collection.

So fellow family historians, please lets not be too greedy, save something for your children and grand-children to get excited about. They should know the excitement of the release of a new data collection, the anticipation of the possible discoveries, and the frustrations of finding the website overloaded and a dodgy index.

What do you think? Are we too greedy and impatient as genealogists? Should we save of the excitement and frustrations for future generations? Leave me a comment and let me know.

The 1911 census coming to findmypast.com on subscription

20 Sep

From sometime in October 2009 the 1911 census will be available from findmypast.com on a yearly or six monthly subscription. Up until now it has only been available on a PayAsYouGo basis, but at last a more cost effective option is available.

The subscription will be on top of the normal findmypast Explorer subscription, although there will be a discount on the 1911 subscription for existing findmypast.com subscribers, and the 1911 census will still be available on PayAsYouGo at 1911census.co.uk.

The cost for a year will be £59.95 (without the discount) and for six months it will be £39.95. Further details can be found on findmypast.com and the 1911census.co.uk blog. The 1911 subscription can also be bought (or upgraded) along with the normal Explorer subscription.

The question now is do I need to buy a subscription, if I did there are lots of people in my family tree that I could look up, but I don’t think any of them are important to my research at the moment. I could just be generating myself a lot more work, and heaven knows I have plenty of that already, so I will probably stick with PayAsYouGo for the time being, but Christmas is not far around the corner and perhaps this might be on my wish list!

I just can’t stop filing and a couple of firsts for my research.

30 Aug

I did do some research yesterday evening, but I am slightly embarrassed to admit that by the end of the evening I was back filing and organising my paperwork again.

It wasn’t that the research wasn’t interesting, I had intend to use the marriage and death indexes on ancestry.co.uk to fill in some details on the children of George and Lilian Mary MITCHELL (my great grandparents) of West Dean, Sussex. I got distracted and started filling in some details on Lilian’s parents James and Caroline BOXALL, starting with the census.

James and Caroline had a lot of children, and several of the later ones didn’t survive very long. I wasn’t sure that I had found all the children and knowing James and Caroline were still alive in 1911, I decided to spend the money and get the census image for that year.

In 1911 James and Caroline had been married for 34 years and Caroline had given birth to thirteen children, nine of whom were still living and four who had died. From the West Dean parish registers and earlier census returns I had only come up with twelve. I wonder if the problem comes from Walter Henry BOXALL who in the 1911 census is listed as their son, but in the 1901 census he is shown as their grandson.

Interestingly Walter Henry is the first person in my family tree to have been born in Wales. Both census returns give his place of birth as Caerleon, Monmouthshire. I think it unlikely that James and Caroline made the trip to Wales and then returned to Sussex, so I believe that he is their grandson, but who his parents were is still a mystery (until I buy a birth certificate).

After this I moved on to the children of George and Lilian Mary MITCHELL, as I know the dates of birth for most of them I have been able to find quite a few in the GRO death indexes. I have also found some likely marriages for some of them and was able to fill in a missing spouse for Robert Charles MITCHELL. He married Emily S SMITH in 1932 in the Chichester Registration District.

That marked another first for my family tree, the first person with the surname SMITH. I am almost up to a thousand individuals but this is the first SMITH I have found, and I have yet to find a JONES either. On the whole I have been blessed with uncommon surnames to research!

It wasn’t long before I returned to my filing. I made a start on the TROWER surname folder, and weeded out lots of paper I don’t need, at least now I can close the folder properly. In fact I am enjoying being able to pull out a folder without the whole lot collapsing on me. It really is a great feeling!

More free access to the 1911 census

3 Aug

As well as the seven locations announced last week and The National Archives, there is another place I forgot to mention where you can view the 1911 census free of charge.

That location is the London Family History Centre (LFHC), run by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There website states that “you can view images, print and/or download them to your memory stick on any of our computers.” Furthermore there is no need to book a seat, and it only costs 20p to print a page.

That is really just the tip of the iceberg as far as resources go at the LFHC. The resources available are staggering including Principal Probate Registry Copy Wills and access to the British Library Newspaper Collection online. If you have not been before and can get to London it is well worth a visit, it is like an Aladdin’s cave of genealogy.

But please don’t all rush at once, save me a seat as I have a lot of research to do!


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