Archive for '1911 census'

How do I find out the history of my house

A few weeks back I mentioned the various means by which you can find out where your family once lived. Well I have come across an increasing number of people eager to find out how I would find out the history of my house. For many property buyers there is quite a bit of romance to buying a house with a history. The history may have to do with the previous owners or with the property’s architecture. New developments can be all well and good with spiffy conveniences, but a house that has stood for over a hundred years is bound to have some juicy history attached to it, or so many of us hope. It is the kind of thing that really makes for delightful dinner party conversations.

For a newly purchased home, I would make the first inquiry on the history of my house with the realtor. They are able to give information on when the property was built and details on new additions and renovation work. If the house is in a less urban locale, and the realtor is familiar to the property, they should be able to give information on the previous owners and the work that has been done to the property. Estate Agents often like to relate stories about a property and its owners, particularly if it will help clinch the deal.

The local council and record offices are also a good resource on the history of my house. Information on permits issued will give a history of the work done to the structure. Also, you should be able to tell if the house was part of a bigger estate on the maps. Legal records and census returns will also give data on the history of ownership. For much older properties, these records are probably going to be under the custody of the local archive.

At the local archives service or library, I do find there is a dedicated section on the area where I can look up my house history. This resource should be really useful. There will be everything from tax records to the private papers of the estate manager. When researching the history of my house, I find it is easier to actually know what I am looking for, this helps me narrow down the search to the relevant government department. Even if the property is in town, estate records should be able to yield information on developments done on the property. Census records are a good way of finding out the details of the occupant past. Be sure to check online for information that may already be available to the public.

Whether my house history interest concerns how the house originally looked when new or who lived there in the early 1900s, my local records and archives office would be the safest bet. If you are not familiar with your family’s genealogy, then use the same tips to find out more about your past.

I have a limited number of copies of Signed Copies of “Tracing the History of Your House: The Building, the People, the Past”

if you would like to buy a copy

Price: £10.00


Feeble Minded and Stinking Proud

News of the release of the redacted sections of the 1911 census came at just the right time, while I was gathering information to use in a short Family History slot on BBC Radio Devon. A quick trawl through my own family’s 1911 images revealed no infirmities, so I was pleased to see items in the press and in Nick Barratt’s January 6th blog mentioning a “stinking proud” daughter – ideal!

However, looking at the image for Richard Woodward in Avon Road, Highbury, Islington (RG 14 Piece 985), I noticed that both descriptions “Feeble Minded & Stinking Proud” probably referred to Richard’s wife, who was called….Wife Abducted! His daughter? No name, but also “abducted”. The enumerator put a line through “& Stinking Proud” but accepted Richard’s description of his unnamed wife as feeble minded.

A quick search of the 1891 and 1901 censuses and FreeBMD revealed Mrs Woodward as Blanche and their daughter Maud. Richard Woodward married Blanche Emily Creasy in the June Quarter 1890 and Maud, their only child, was born a respectable 9 -12 months after the marriage (June Quarter 1891), so not in the same year, as it might appear from Richard’s 1911 entry.

What was going on? Was Richard a deserted husband? Had his wife and daughter really been abducted? Was he feeling hard done by, or simply completing the 1911 form with his tongue very firmly in his cheek? Richard was in his mid 30s when he married Blanche, who was 13/14 years his junior. Perhaps Blanche had found herself a toy boy?

Searching FMP for the “abducted” wife and daughter revealed that they were with their Creasy relatives on census night in 1911 at High St, Hadlow, Tonbridge, Kent (RG 14 Piece 4087). 20 year old Maud was easily found, but Blanche Woodward was incorrectly indexed as Creasy (correction sent to FMP).

A W CREASY HeadMarried54GrocerKent Margate
Ellen CREASYWifeMarried6 years41Kent Hadlow
Harold CREASYSonMarried2 years28Grocer AssistantKent Hadlow
Blanche WOODWARDSisterMarried22 years43Kent Margate
Maude WOODWARDNieceSingle20London Highbury

Ellen (nee Pine) was Arthur’s second wife. His first wife Susannah (mother of Harold) was alone in 1901 (RG13/759) and died later that year. Husband Arthur was not positively identified in 1901.

But what’s that faint pencilled note below the family listing on the Creasy 1911 census image? It appears to have been written by the enumerator and says “No. 3 Harold Creasy apart from wife”.

Harold’s wife Mary Eldridge Creasy (nee Simpson) and her son, 9 month old Arthur Harold John, were staying at 29 Duckett Road, Hornsey, with Mary’s parents. (RG14 Piece 7194).

So …. abducted Blanche and Maud were just visiting…… weren’t they?

Guest Post by Maureen Selley, Chairman Devon FHS

The 1911 census

1911 censusHello, happy New Year and I hope you had a wonderful festive period; I hope you were able to spend some time with your family, swapping stories and enjoying their company.

Normally, the first few days of January in a year that ends with a ‘2’ are some of the most exciting for any genealogist. Why? Because they mark the release of a new set of census returns, crammed full of millions of names of our relatives from a century ago. So there’s almost a sense of anti-climax this year, given the fact that the 1911 census was released in 2009. However, as part of the agreement made with the Information Commissioner to facilitate the early release, one column was redacted – and all information relating to illnesses was covered up when the images and transcripts went live.

Now, the information has been revealed for the first time, and because these are householder returns we can see what our ancestors wrote about themselves. It makes for interesting reading.

Is anyone descended from John Underwood, who lived in Hastings? Perhaps one of his children –they are described by him as ‘quarrelsome’ (Herbert), ‘stubborn’ (Violet), ‘greedy’ (Charles), ‘vain’ (Doris) and ‘noisy’ (Daphne, who was only 3). His wife Ada is rather bizarrely called ‘long-tongued’ – presumably a reference to her constant chattering during their 16 years of marriage? It is perhaps no surprise to find that he calls himself ‘bad tempered’.

It could have been much worse, I guess; Richard Woodward from Highbury called his daughter ‘stinking proud’, whereas rather worryingly Addiman Parkin Barker described his family, under ailments, as ‘alive.’

The records of the 1911 census lift the lid on the way people saw themselves and their various medical problems far more accurately than the enumerators’ returns that we’ve used for previous years. Aside from the terminology that still refers to certain types of illness as being lunatic or imbecile, which is typical for the early twentieth century before advances in diagnosis and treatment, the way our ancestors used the census forms is very revealing.

Many women in the 1911 census seized the opportunity to make a political statement, stating that they were “voteless”, therefore classed with idiots and children’ in a direct reference to the Suffragette movement, campaigning to have the franchise extended.

So – even if you’re already found your records on the 1911 census, it’s worth going back for a closer look; you may be surprised at what you unearth!

Have a look at the `1911 Census on Find My Past

More details to follow in subsequent blogs, but plans for Who Do You Think You Are Live progress; the team from the Family History Show will be at the show with a film crew, and we’d like to interview you with your ‘personal archive’ – a letter, document, heirloom, object or story that you can share with others in a short piece to camera. An expert will be on hand to help you interpret what you bring… more on this as closer to the show, but we’ll aim to put as many as possible into our future episodes.

Which reminds me – Episode 3 will be coming soon, hopefully next week; apologies for the slight delay caused by the Christmas break.