Author Topic: Why were ages on 1800s census's so loosely accurate?  (Read 2022 times)

Offline Paulo Leeds

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Re: Why were ages on 1800s census's so loosely accurate?
« Reply #18 on: Saturday 03 March 18 15:26 GMT (UK) »
1. Ages of adults on 1841 census wasn't intended to be accurate. Instruction to census enumerator regarding ages was to round down age of each adult to a multiple of 5. A child's age (i.e. under 15) was to be entered as given.
"Write the age of every person under 15 years of age as it is stated to you. For persons aged 15 years and upwards write the lowest term of 5 years within which the age is.
Thus for Persons aged
                              15 years and under 20 write 15
                              20 years and under 25 write 20
                              .....
and so on until the greatest age.
If no more can be ascertained in respect of any person other than that the person is a child or grown up write 'under 20' or 'above 20' as the case maybe."

www.hunimex.com/warwick/census/1841_cnum_inst.html

Some census collectors followed this instruction, some didn't.

2. 1841 census was taken in July, subsequent census days were in March or April.
Therefore a person who had turned 9 years of age in May or June 1841 would have been recorded as 18 years old on 1851 census and 28 in 1861, providing their exact age was known.

Edit. Oops! Just noticed and corrected an error in the age ranges.

one of my ancestors was listed as Aged 29 on the 1841?? Shudn't that have been put as 25??

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Online youngtug

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Re: Why were ages on 1800s census's so loosely accurate?
« Reply #19 on: Saturday 03 March 18 17:34 GMT (UK) »
Quote
Some census collectors followed this instruction, some didn't.
.http://www.rootschat.com/links/05q2/   
  WILSON;-Wiltshire.
 SOUL;-Gloucestershire.
 SANSUM;-Berkshire-Wiltshire
 BASSON-BASTON;- Berkshire,- Oxfordshire.
 BRIDGES;- Wiltshire.
 DOWDESWELL;-Wiltshire,Gloucestershire
 JORDAN;- Berkshire.
 COX;- Berkshire.
 GOUDY;- Suffolk.
 CHATFIELD;-Sussex-- London
 MORGAN;-Blaenavon-Abersychan
 FISHER;- Berkshire.
 BLOMFIELD-BLOOMFIELD-BLUMFIELD;-Suffolk.
DOVE. Essex-London
YOUNG-Berkshire
ARDEN.
PINEGAR-COLLIER-HUGHES-JEFFERIES-HUNT-MOSS-FRY

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Online BushInn1746

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Re: Why were ages on 1800s census's so loosely accurate?
« Reply #20 on: Saturday 03 March 18 18:19 GMT (UK) »
I was once a Merchants Buyer responsible for the purchase of 16,000 items, sometimes I'd have two phone calls at once, one in each ear. I knew regulator discounts and current buying prices off the top of head.

Because of my qualifications, I got a job at a Local Authority, 8 years into that, then I woke up one morning, little memory and only knew that I had to telephone work to say I was too ill to go.

Due to a neuro condition, I now have to work out my age on a slip of paper, but I am not sure this minute if it is Thursday, Friday or Saturday today, I often miss out, because I have forgotten and somebody says did you see ... the other night.

If somebody was in a rush and said give me your age, I'd have to guess, but I know my exact date, place and address of birth and I know we are in 2018.

Mark
"George HOOD of Selby" Before 1812?

Born about 1785 (Yorkshire per 1841 Census)

Married Sarah RUSSELL at Selby 1815 newspaper - "both of that place".

Buried in the Quaker Burial Ground at Selby as "Not in Membership" in 1845, aged 60 years.

George HOOD of Selby was refused Membership of the Quakers in 1836.

Elected Overseer of the Poor of Selby in 1838.

Had both known (Selby) and unknown (some not stated 1846) property interests.

Possible (but unknown) links to COOK and/or PEARSON names.

Online Maiden Stone

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Re: Why were ages on 1800s census's so loosely accurate?
« Reply #21 on: Saturday 03 March 18 20:54 GMT (UK) »

If somebody was in a rush and said give me your age, I'd have to guess, but I know my exact date, place and address of birth and I know we are in 2018.

Mark
On occasions I've had to ask "What year is it?" and then do a sum. I always remember the year I was born so I can calculate my age from that. I've always been very good at mental arithmetic. Like Mark, if I had to give my age in a hurry I would guess and might get it wrong.

Online groom

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Re: Why were ages on 1800s census's so loosely accurate?
« Reply #22 on: Saturday 03 March 18 20:57 GMT (UK) »

On occasions I've had to ask "What year is it?" and then do a sum. I always remember the year I was born so I can calculate my age from that. I've always been very good at mental arithmetic. Like Mark, if I had to give my age in a hurry I would guess and might get it wrong.

I think a lot of us are probably like that, we know exactly the day, month and year of our birth, but have to think about how old we are.
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Offline coombs

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Re: Why were ages on 1800s census's so loosely accurate?
« Reply #23 on: Sunday 04 March 18 13:35 GMT (UK) »
Maybe they knew they were born in 1813 but never could work out what age they were in the 1881 census. They would have been 68 in 1881 but they may never have done the maths properly.

As said, they may have known the day and month of their birth but never the exact year. I am sure many of our ancestors at least knew their month of birth.
Researching:

LONDON, Coombs, Roberts, Auber, Helsdon, Fradine, Morin, Goodacre
DORSET Coombs, Munday
NORFOLK Helsdon, Riches, Harbord, Budery
KENT Roberts, Goodacre
SUSSEX Walder, Boniface, Dinnage, Standen, Lee, Botten, Wickham, Jupp
SUFFOLK Titshall, Frost, Fairweather, Mayhew, Archer, Eade, Scarfe
DURHAM Stewart, Musgrave, Wilson, Forster
SCOTLAND Stewart in Selkirk
USA Musgrave, Saix
ESSEX Cornwell, Stock, Quilter, Lawrence, Whale, Clift
OXON Edgington, Smith, Inkpen, Snell, Batten, Brain

Offline andrewalston

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Re: Why were ages on 1800s census's so loosely accurate?
« Reply #24 on: Sunday 04 March 18 18:10 GMT (UK) »
Women have lied about their ages for centuries!

Not just women!

Young men might claim to be older to get a job, or join the services.

They may adjust their age to be closer in age to a prospective partner.

Older men might claim to be younger so as to keep a job. A 58 year-old labourer has better job prospects than a 68 year-old one. Ageism is nothing new!
Looking at ALSTON in south Ribble area, ALSTEAD and DONBAVAND/DUNBABIN etc. everywhere, HOWCROFT and MARSH in Bolton and Westhoughton, PICKERING in the Whitehaven area.

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Offline chirp

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Re: Why were ages on 1800s census's so loosely accurate?
« Reply #25 on: Sunday 04 March 18 22:45 GMT (UK) »
To answer Paulo Leeds question about what happened to the birth certificates - I have no idea. I have often wondered if people did not routinely have copies of birth certificates for their children. Maybe they had to pay and the cost was too high? I have several replacement ones which were issued when the child became old enough to go to work or joined the army. I guess such things were not a priority in those times unless needed by "the authorities".
AVERY, Berks, BLUNDELL, North Meols, BOND, Wilts,  BRUNDRETT, Lancs, CHORLTON, Salford, DUNKLEY, West Haddon, FOGGIN, Yorks, GRANT, Durham,  GRESTY, Salford, GRINDROD, Salford, HUMM, Bethnal Green, MALONEY, Limerick & Lancs,  MARCHANT, Worcs, McPHERSON, Kent, MELLISH, Finsbury, PERRETT, Wilts,  RAGG, Yorks, RAINSFORD, Staffs, RENSHAW, Salford, ROSS, Leicester, TIGHE/TYE, All, WELLER, Berks, WILKINSON, Wes
Early 19th C Hairdressing & Perfumery
Spittalfields Silkweavers
Glass making, S Shields

Offline cristeen

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Re: Why were ages on 1800s census's so loosely accurate?
« Reply #26 on: Monday 05 March 18 00:27 GMT (UK) »
Quote
Some census collectors followed this instruction, some didn't.
Yay for the ones that didn't :)
Newson, Steavenson, Walker, Taylor, Dobson, Gardner, Clark, Wilson, Smith, Crossland, Goldfinch, Burnett, Hebdon, Peers, Strother, Askew, Bower, Beckwith, Patton, White, Turner, Nelson, Gilpin, Tomlinson, Thompson, Spedding, Wilkes, Carr, Butterfield, Ormandy, Wilkinson, Cocking, Glover, Pennington, Bowker, Kitching, Langhorn, Haworth, Kirkham.