What did the enumerator write?

Any discussion about any census for any area

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Jacqui
Posts: 42
Joined: Sat Mar 21, 2020 8:36 pm

What did the enumerator write?

Post by Jacqui » Wed Mar 25, 2020 12:38 pm

Surnames are frequently incorrectly recorded by enumerators particularly when the name is “out of area” or spoken in a strong accent to the enumerator. The same applies to place-names in the census. Try saying it aloud - emphasise different syllables and imitate local accents! Could the place be somewhere in a different county - the county shown perhaps in another census. 'Hunstanton, Norfolk' cropped up on one census where every other showed various birthplaces in Huntingdonshire…a look at a map found Fenstanton…a village in Huntingdonshire. I have seen some of my Appleby, LEI forebears shown as being from the other Appleby in what was Westmorland! Always examine carefully the image of the census page, too, as transcribers can be wrong. Family history is never simple or straightforward: if it is, question if it is correct!

Post your oddities and let's all have a go at naming alternatives!

Jacqui
ChristopherD
Posts: 56
Joined: Wed Mar 25, 2020 6:51 am

Re: What did the enumerator write?

Post by ChristopherD » Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:35 am

My experiences are exactly the same as Jacqui's - especially the "out of area" residents.

I have recently joined the Guild of OneNames Studies and started by extracting all the occurrences of Dallison/Darlison in the FreeBMD database. But, individuals were missing that I knew hat existed. Searching by other criteria I found them under Darliston or Daralson and others. I have found searching with wild cards - Da*son usually finds most of them. You have to ignore the many Dawsons though! My deviant list currently extends to Daleson, Dalison, Dallason, Dallasson, Dalaston, Dalleson, Dalleston, Dallinson, Dallisson, Dalliston, Darlaston and Darrison. I must admit some are only single occurrences.

I am seeing a similar pattern when searching in the census data. Sometimes it is due to the enumerator incorrectly recording the name and other times it is an error in the transcription in the data. This is where I found the address search in the "The Genealogist" useful - the family appears say in the 1851 and 1871 Census at the same address, but no entry in the index for 1861. Look at the street list for 1861 and they are there under the wrong name.

The other issue with the FreeBMD database is how the registration offices are recorded - how many different ways are there to enter West Ham (W. Ham or W Ham or W.Ham) and Bury St Edmunds (Bury St. Edmunds or Bury St E or Bury St. E)? The "Find and Replace" option came into its own.

Back to a bit of searching.

Stay safe.
Jacqui
Posts: 42
Joined: Sat Mar 21, 2020 8:36 pm

Re: What did the enumerator write?

Post by Jacqui » Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:18 am

Hi Christopher

Some who read this list will have read in the "Journal" my trials and tribulations over gt gran Jane. On all three of her marriages she was DULSON, and so was her father. She was born in deepest Shropshire but did not marry in the county. I never could find any birth, census entry, baptism to confirm her father was Thomas DULSON.

For years I had mused about DULSON / DAWSON. I'd visited archives rootling through parish registers (before they were ever conceived to be online). Out of the blue an email found me by a circuitous route. A descendant of Jane's full brother (hitherto unknown to me!) had the will of their natural father...Thomas DAWSON! He named both his natural children by Mary DULSON. So my musings were not far out. I suspect at each marriage she actually did say her father was Thomas DAWSON, but the incumbents did not differentiate that from her surname of DULSON. Would I have found that will without that email? Probably not! Thank goodness for genealogical acts of kindness!

I have not convincingly nailed Jane down in any census before her first marriage in Staffordshire. Her next two were in Cheshire. She died in north Warwickshire - part of the migration of Cheshire farmers to NNWFHS area.

I feel for anyone trying to sort out surnames beginning with a vowel, or H...!!

Jacqui
rbrookes
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Mar 25, 2020 12:46 pm

Re: What did the enumerator write?

Post by rbrookes » Wed Apr 01, 2020 9:20 am

Hi,

Here are a few from my Warwickshire relations, might help someone in searching

John TINSLEY, 1851 census in Morcott, Lancashire, census enumerator has written his place of birth as Chilver Coton, Warwickshire (not a bad effort!)

I've seen a lot of census records (and marriages) which are recorded actually in Chilvers Coton record it as C Coton or just Coton.

John and Selina READER and family, 1861 census in Tamworth, Staffordshire, the ones who were born in Chilvers Coton are written as Staffordshire, Coton rather than Warwickshire

Richard BROOKES and Mary BROOKES (nee TINSLEY) and family, 1861 census on board a ship, they are all shown as born in Warwickshire, Nuneaton, actually only Richard BROOKES senior was, others variously born in Chilvers Coton, Bedworth, Grantham, Welwyn, Lee in Gloucestershire and Chatham in Kent. But I don't think this is the enumerators fault, sometimes our ancestors can be economical with the truth!

Richard BROOKES and Mary BROOKES (nee TINSLEY) 1881 census in Croydon, Surrey, shows him as Warwick, Nuneaton and her as Warwick, Griff. Full marks except for the county.

John TINSLEY 1891 census in Islington, London, written as Warwick, Chilercoton

It isn't only place names of course, BROOKES gets written interchangeably as BROOKS and BROOKES, and TINSLEY has been seen as TINDERLEY and TANSLEY.

Even when the enumerator got it correct, transcribers can make mistakes.

Richard Brookes
Jacqui
Posts: 42
Joined: Sat Mar 21, 2020 8:36 pm

Re: What did the enumerator write?

Post by Jacqui » Thu Apr 02, 2020 9:10 am

When the census abbreviates a placename, such as Chilvers Coton, to simply Coton...then interpretation gets involved! There is Coton in Tamworth, Coton between Whitacre Heath and Marston...and many more! We just need to pick at entry after consecutive entry to get to some semblance of truth!!
Enjoy the detective work!
Jacqui
jarball
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue May 05, 2020 4:49 pm

Re: What did the enumerator write?

Post by jarball » Wed May 06, 2020 3:56 pm

I am keeping a list of the variations for Chetwynd - up to 14 so far. I have found The Genealogist search for family option very useful. Put in one or more forenames and omit the troublesome surname.
Another strategy I use is to get onto the originals and browse through page by page.
If only I could also do this on Scotlands People!
Margaret Ball
Jacqui
Posts: 42
Joined: Sat Mar 21, 2020 8:36 pm

Re: What did the enumerator write?

Post by Jacqui » Wed May 06, 2020 6:28 pm

Scotlands People's website does prevent our deep delving into the census unless your pocket is bottomless - a visit to Scotland's People Centre in Edinburgh would enable thorough searching (£15 to walk through the door!). I have had a problem with some surnames and found the Scottish transcriptions on Find My Past helpful, but they do not have 1911 for Scotland. The FMP transcripts have enabled me to narrow down the search and then when necessary, look at a particular entry on ScotlandsPeople website - six credits/£1.50 per view!!
And the enumerators often struggled with spellings; some had appalling writing so the transcribers struggle; some did not understand the dialect of the person giving them verbal information...the reasons for names being "different" are many. We just have to try and work it out. The Genealogist is good for searching the census with forenames, decades of birth and no surnames - it works!!
Jacqui
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