1841 Census Facts
As the 1841 census for England has just been added to Ancestry.com, I thought I would send a few tips.
1. The 1841 census gives the first snapshot of everyone living in England.
2. It gives names and a rough address and indication of who was living in a household.
3. It does not give relationship or birthplace only indicating if someone was born in the county.
4. Ages for adults were rounded down to nearest five years. If you find two fifteen-year-olds living with a couple of toddlers they were not necessarily that precocious.
5. Male names were often abbreviated (e.g., Thos = Thomas, George = Geo, Jno = John, Wm = William).
6. Addresses were given as parish and county which can be confusing. For example, St. Phillip and St. Jacob Somerset was actually the centre of Bristol. The church is now known as Pip and Jay so even a local might be confused.
7. Surname spellings have changed a lot. It is worth considering regional accents. We found a family of Hares who became Ayres in London.
Not There or Not in the Index?
I know this has been covered before, but for new researchers, it is important for them to know that just becauseÂ they can’t find someone in the index, it doesn’t mean they aren’t there. I helped a friend work on his McClain family in Texas, and I knew they were in Trinity County but they were not listed in the 1860 index. (This was before Ancestry indexed it and we had to rely on the books in the library.) I decided to check out the census for Trinity County page by page. Sure enough, there was the entire family, names very easy to read, and not one of them had been listed in the book. (Somehow the transcriber had skipped over a whole group of names.)Â So, don’t give up if you can’t find them in the index.
Another example was in locating my grandfather Leigh in the 1920 index. The transcriber took the “L” to be an “S.” I had to locate him by going through each page of the index. Be sure to try different spellings, and don’t give up. If you are positive that your ancestor is in a certain place, and the indexes are of no help, search the census and you should find them.
If not, then maybe you need to rethink your assumption of where they are. Maybe the county or state lines changed, depending on the year. These little idiosyncrasies make genealogy fun for me. I just love the challenges.
Nancy Richardson, Houston, TX
Check the Front and Back of Registers
After checking nineteenth-century marriage records at the courthouse, I thought I had seen all of the “E-F-G”Â entries. Quite by accident I skipped to the last page of the marriage register book and got a surprise. Since the early entries wereÂ recorded in the book â€œas they happenedâ€ during each calendarÂ year, when the recorder ran out of space on a particular page, they moved to the back of the register (after the “Z” section), and began recording again. Now I always check alphabetically for the letter I’m checking for in the front, and then I skip to the back section just to see if there are other entries back there. I have found several records this way that I had not found in my previous searches.
If you have a suggestion you would like to share with other researchers, send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org . Thanks to all of this week’s contributors!
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