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Census searching geniuses only please!

30 replies

WeatherwaxOn · 11/01/2022 13:48

I'm trying (and failing) to find relatives on the 1911 census.
They appear on every other year, in various combinations (as people were born/died).
I cannot find one member of a particular family. I have searched on First name only. I have searched on surname only. I have searched on the middle bit of the surname only (allowing for mistranscribed capital letter).
I have tried looking with other family connected to them.

What other possible combinations can I try?

Am I wrong to search in London only (they were in the St.Luke's area for 40 or so years)? Am I missing something by doing this?

I can only imagine that they are either completely mistranscribed, or, that a page of the census is missing from the scan/transcription.

To try to narrow down I have looked at all the addresses they were at on the census returns I already have.
I have looked at all the addresses they were at when children were born in 1904, 1909, and 1912.
I have looked for each child individually. I have looked for the parents separately.
Completely stumped as to what else to try looking at. They were most definitely NOT overseas as they could seldom even afford the rent.

OP posts:
Whatdramain2022 · 11/01/2022 13:57

They probably missed out filling in the return or it wasn't collected.

They could have been away, either in this country or abroad.

They could have been transcribed to the wrong household with the wrong surname. Try their first names with place of birth.

My grandfather isn't anywhere on the 1921 census and I know he was living in London. His first baby was due and his wife had gone to stay with her mother for the delivery of my mother as my great grandmother was a midwife. A big mistake as my grandmother was the only patient her mother lost through childbirth. She had been booked in at Queen Charlotte's and my g grandmother persuaded her to have a home birth.

eagerlywaitingfor · 11/01/2022 14:02

Do you have any record of siblings or relatives for this person? They may have been visiting on census day and are recorded at their address.

Have you checked the newspaper archives to see if there is any mention of them? They may have been in prison.

Who is living at the address shown on the birth certificate nearest census date?

Have you searched for their death?

Hungry625f · 11/01/2022 14:04

I would definitely search a bit further afield as ppl tended to migrate to London from other places. When I hit a dead end i end up forking out £14 for the marriage certificate to give me some hints.

So hard when it's all common names too, really wished my ancestors had been a bit more imaginative on the naming front. There are only so many generations of Peter Smith one can wade through

WeatherwaxOn · 11/01/2022 14:21

Just to add to this.

Family I'm searching consists of
3 of Grandmother's sisters
1 of Grandmother's brothers

The siblings I have looked for separately.
I have looked at relatives of Gt.Grandparents, none of the family I am seeking are at their address.
At the address on the birth certificate nearest the census (1912) is nobody connected to the family.
All were alive at the time of the 1911 census (I have births and deaths already)
I've checked prisons. Gt-Gt Grandfather was in the workhouse at the time. His wife was living with two of their children (my Grandmother's aunt and uncle, both adults).

I am not quite sure how to search first name + place of birth. I have tried first name + (place of birth in the "Optional Keywords").

I can't see how they'd be abroad. They moved to avoid paying rent, and lived off the pawnbroker subbing their suits.

Regarding census returns not submitted/collected - I wasn't taking this into consideration. Was this common? It looks as though the area they lived in (St. Lukes, Holborn) was pretty well recorded.

OP posts:
SportsMother · 11/01/2022 14:40

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GlamGiraffe · 11/01/2022 14:45

Look nationwide. Its possible they had travelled out if london for sone reason at the time of the census. Perhaps they had a job where they temporarily had to travel. Its worth a try.

SisterAgatha · 11/01/2022 14:47

Open the entire page, search every entry with your eyes.

Look within 10 years of the official birthday as I once had 12 months old transcribed at 12 years old.

If relative had a speech impediment it can be massively wrong, think Dundon/London.

eagerlywaitingfor · 11/01/2022 14:47

Hmm. With a family member already in the workhouse, together with also dodging rent payments and having to use pawnbrokers etc, I suspect that they may have either dodged the census altogether, or deliberately falsified the information so there was no official record of their whereabouts.

Needdoughnuts · 11/01/2022 14:55

Have you checked the 1921 census yet? They might be where you expected them to be.

dodobookends · 11/01/2022 14:55

Which resource are you using to check the census record? Sometimes you find that if you use a different source, the missing people suddenly turn up. It might be worth checking Ancestry, Find my Past and any others available.

Due to transcription errors, what is impossible to find in one, might be there correctly transcribed on another.

SisterAgatha · 11/01/2022 14:55

I’d do some free newspaper searches of the time. I had a relative in an ‘asylum’ at that time on the other side of London and I’d never have known without the newspaper report about what put him in there.

WeatherwaxOn · 11/01/2022 16:17

sisterA yes, I have looked at the full page for all the addresses I know they lived at. Definitely not there. I have been trying to systematically work through all the houses on those streets, and on all the streets in the area I know they were in, but I am only allowed a certain amount of searches before I get told off for not adhering to the 'fair use' policy!

eagerly that does sound feasible. I'm just surprised that not one of them is flagging up. They were a family of at least 7 at that time.

dodo I'm using FMP, as I have a subscription. I have had a friend search Ancestry, although that would have been on full names. I am thinking of signing up to Ancestry though so can cross-check.

OP posts:
WeatherwaxOn · 11/01/2022 16:22

need - yes they're on the 1921, just around the corner from other places they'd lived in the past.

OP posts:
PineappleWilson · 11/01/2022 16:25

@WeatherwaxOn public libraries have free access to Ancestry, so you can search there free of charge to save you subscribing unnecessarily. Do you have access to the workhouse records to see if anyone else in the family is also resident there?

WeatherwaxOn · 11/01/2022 16:28

Thanks Pineapple that's on my list for the next time I go to the library. I shall take my list of addresses. I've just ordered the birth cert for another of my grandmother's brothers, born 1907 so will hopefully have that information by then as another place to check.

I can go back to the workhouse info I had and double-check. At the moment it seems most likely that they didn't return the census entry (although that's inconsistent with other years).
I have tried to look for my G-G'father on the electoral roll and can't find him there either, so wondering if they falsified info.

OP posts:
DameAlyson · 11/01/2022 16:36

Definitely try searching outside London.

Try shortened or alternate versions of Christian names - I have someone who was variously Eleanor, Nellie and Helen on different censuses. Eleanor was the name she was given at birth.

Try swapping firstname and surname, in case the person filling out the form did it the wrong way round.

If the person had more than one Christian name, try reversing them, or searching for the second name.

Search for all children, siblings and parents - as pp said, they might have been away visiting on census night.

But some people just won't be found - I've got a few like that.

MarshmallowFondant · 11/01/2022 16:41

I have an Ancestry worldwide subscription @WeatherwaxOn, if you want to message me i'd be happy to check.

Einszwei · 11/01/2022 16:58

Have you tried finding a family member on the electoral roll? You can then look up families living next door on the 1911 census, then manually search through the next households listed.

SisterAgatha · 11/01/2022 17:03

I often wonder about falsified info, I’ve seen it on some of my families entries too, different women listed as wives when they were mistresses.

Are there any small towns locally they may have moved to? Mine were similar area to yours and some turned up in Herts and Essex. Even if one was in prison the others would be somewhere… good luck!

Needdoughnuts · 11/01/2022 19:01

Was 1911 the first census that the householders filled in themselves? It might have been easy to just not do it or make it up.

MarshmallowFondant · 11/01/2022 19:08

Yes that's right. 1911 was filled in by the householder.

eggandonion · 11/01/2022 19:11

I have one relation who was a hospital porter in a maternity hospital on census night.
Sadly I have one who was in an institution between childhood and death, but I can't find out where. Its frustrating, isn't it.

SisterAgatha · 11/01/2022 19:35

eggandonion Were they London based? It may have been Epsom. Our relative was, there is a part of the national archive that specifically deals with those enquiries as they are quite distressing. There is a memorial near chessington too, next to the hospital burial site.

WeatherwaxOn · 11/01/2022 20:50

RE: householder filling in the census. They could have been illiterate. I don't have a copy of the marriage certificate at hand to cross-check.

OP posts:
eggandonion · 11/01/2022 20:50

I think as a baby he was born in London, but as they were an army family who moved around, between London, Dublin and Windsor, he was left there. So I don't know where he was between his baptism and burial.

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