Tag Archives: 1911 census

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!

Where can I get free access to the 1911 census in England and Wales?

28 Jul

UPDATE: From the 1st October 2009 free access at Manchester Archives and Local Studies and Greater Manchester County Record Office and Tyne and Wear Archives has been withdrawn as their allocation of free credits has been used up. Please check availability with the other archives before visiting.

The National Archives have announced today that in association with findmypast.com they will be providing free access to the 1911 census at seven archives and libraries across England and Wales.

The seven lucky archives and libraries listed are:

  • Birmingham Archives & Heritage
  • Devon Record Office
  • The National Library of Wales
  • Manchester Archives and Local Studies and Greater Manchester County Record Office
  • Norfolk Record Office
  • Nottinghamshire Archives
  • Tyne and Wear Archives

Researchers are advised to check with the relevant archive or library before visiting for availability. Presumably a similar system will be in place to that at The National Archives (where access to the 1911 census online is already free) which means you will only have to pay if you want to print from the website.

No mention is made of how this fits in with The National Archives proposed changes to reduce running costs by 2010.

The importance of viewing the enumerator’s summary books in the 1911 census

19 Jun

I wrote yesterday about the completion of the 1911 census and the availability of the enumerator’s summary books, and how I hoped they might help me solve a problem with regard to exact location of my 2x great grandmother Mary Ann GASSON’s home.

Today I would like to share another example from my own family history, which illustrates the importance and value of these summary books. This concerns another set of 2x great grandparents Ebenezer and Annie TROWER at Sayers Common, Sussex (I have just written about them over at part three of my Sussex Day walk).

Although I was pretty certain that I knew where the family were living at the time of the census, the householder’s page only gave the postal address as “Sayers Common Hurstpoint” (it probably should have read Hurstpierpoint or just Hurst, but I will forgive Ebenezer that little slip).

The enumerator’s summary page actually gives a different address, that of “Vicarage Cottage”, which is just what I was expecting. If I hadn’t already known where they were living just viewing the householder’s page would probably have left me no further forward.

So make sure you check the enumerator’s summary page, you never know what else you might pick up, especially as it doesn’t cost any more if you have already viewed the householder’s page.

The 1911 census is complete, so I can have a look at the enumerator’s summary books at last

18 Jun

I wrote a post over three months ago about the up coming release of the Enumerator’s Summary Books for the 1911 census and how I wanted to view the page for my 2x great grandmother Mary Ann GASSON to try and pin-point exactly where Gorewood Green was in Hurstpierpoint, Sussex.

Well, finally the summary books have arrived at the 1911 census website, along with all the other remaining records, and the 1911 census blog claims that the 1911 census is now complete and who am I to argue. I must admit that I started to lose interest after the Sussex data had been uploaded and explored, because by 1911 pretty much all of my ancestors had arrived in Sussex!

Now I need to go back and see what else can be learnt from these summary books and I have already made a start with the one relating to Mary Ann GASSON. From the neighbouring properties (the Sportsman Inn, Huntsmoor, Shalfords, Gate House and the Isolation Hospital) I now have a pretty good idea of where to look for Gorewood Green, and it looks more and more like Gorewood Green is actually a varient of Goddards’ Green, the current name for the area. I think I will have to have a close look at some maps when I next visit the West Sussex Record Office.

Who to spend my 30 credits on?

30 Mar

Having found my 2x great grandmother Harriet MITCHELL in the 1911 census yesterday, I now have the question of what to do with my remaining credits. I have enough credits left for one more image, but who should I spend it on?

Of course I could just save the credits for the next time I have a query, but I can feel those 30 credits burning a whole in my (online) pocket, begging to be spent.

I have found entries for pretty much all of my direct ancestors, with the exception of George Thomas GASSON (2x great grandfather). However,  I know exactly where he was at the time of the census, in the East Sussex County Asylum at Hellingly, Sussex, so there is probably no benefit from finding his entry.

There may still be some direct ancestors alive in 1911 that I haven’t checked, because I don’t know when they died, so perhaps I should pick one of my less well researched lines and use the 1911 census to fill in a few of the blanks. Maybe the WALDER family in Bolney, Sussex, but there are rather a lot of them.

Perhaps it should be one of the brothers or sisters of my ancestors. There are a few interesting people that it would be useful to find out more about, such as Abraham TROWER (3x great uncle) who was the last of about 5 or six generations of TROWERs living at Harwoods Farm, Henfield, Sussex.

Or what about Abraham’s brother Luther? What was he doing in 1911? Where was he living? Would it provide any clues as to why he would commit suicide 18 months later?

And perhaps it would be worth looking for Mercy TROWER, or would it be STEADMAN or perhaps BARLEY? I wonder if the 1911 census would explain why I can’t find a record of her marriages, despite the fact she died as a widow?

Then there is William James GASSON (2x great uncle) who died of enteric fever in the First World War. He would still have been single in 1911, and probably already serving in the army, so he might not be online yet.

And don’t get me started on the BOXALLs or the MITCHELLs, they had far too many children, one image would be a drop in the ocean with either of those families.

I never have been good at making decisions, there are far to many possibilities, perhaps I will sleep on it and see who comes to mind tomorrow. Maybe I can resist the temptation, and hold onto my credits for a really worthy cause, but like a kid in a sweet shop, I doubt I will be able to resist for long!

The 1911 census and Harriet MITCHELL

29 Mar

I finally took the plunge and paid for 60 credits for the 1911 census today. Although I am trying to limit the amount of money I spend on the 1911 census (until it comes out on a subscription model), curiosity finally got the better of me and I decide to take a chance and download the image for Harriet MITCHELL.

I was pretty sure it was my 2x great grandmother, the age was about right and the location was Hampshire, so that was a match as well. However, I couldn’t identify who she was living with, from the indexes I knew it was one of her children because her relationship was mother.

I could have spent a fair amount of time, checking other names in the same household, what with 13 children (technically only 12 left to find because I already have the image for my great grandfather) and then the married names of the daughters (if they had married by then).

Instead I bit the bullet and paid my money and downloaded the image, and I was correct it was her and she was living with her married daughter Ellen HUTFIELD (should have been Harriet Ellen, but I will forgive them that).

So not only do I get the information on Harriet MITCHELL, but also one of her daughters, and five grandchildren (one had died). Interesting Ellen HUTFIELD described her relationship as wife, but there was no head listed. I assume that being a Portsmouth address this probably means that her husband was in the navy and away at sea.

The information I was really after of course was that on Harriet MITCHELL. She was listed as a widow, which I had already guessed she would be (I think William Henry her husband died in 1908), and her birthplace was shown as Kent, Cowfold.

Now, I know a Cowfold in Sussex, that is only a couple of miles down the road from me, but I can’t seem to find a Cowfold in Kent, or anything like it? Everything seems to point to the fact that she wasn’t born in Alton, Hampshire, but somewhere in Kent, despite what numerous census returns tell us!

1911 Census

5 Mar

The fuss over the release of the 1911 census seems to have died away now, in fact things seem to have gone very quiet now over on the 1911 census website www.1911census.co.uk with no news updates since the 19th January 2009.

However, if one goes to the 1911 census blog http://blog.1911census.co.uk/ you will see that work is still continuing on getting the rest of the census online and steps are being taken to improve the transcription for those counties that are already there.

In particular a March 3rd post reports that amongst other things, “Transcription errors reported up to February have been checked and corrected where necessary”. It is good to know that they are listening to their users.

So what do I think of the 1911 census?

Well it is good to have it online, and I have spent several pounds downloading images for my ancestors. However, I am starting to get annoyed by people complaining about the price and the transcriptions.

Sure it would be nice if it was free, and we could see who was living in the same street as our ancestors without the costs associated (the reason: I can’t locate my 2x great grandmother’s house and would really like to see the names of the houses either side of hers), but I can wait until the price comes down and other providers get their turn at transcribing. Complaining to the rest of the community is not going to get you anywhere, complaining to the providers is probably not going to get you very far either, the bottom line is: if you don’t like it, don’t use <steps down from soapbox>.

I was quite amused with the great excitement that followed the news (a few years ago now) that one could request a look up in the 1911 census from the National Archives for the cost of £45. It would be hard to think of an example in my family tree where I could warrant spending that sort of cash, for information that would be available at a fraction of the cost just a few years later. Did these people really have nothing else left to do on their family trees? I am sure there were probably one or two good cases, that being said I don’t know how many people did take advantage of the service.

One of the greatest assets for any genealogist is patience.

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