Author Topic: Why were ages on 1800s census's so loosely accurate?  (Read 2029 times)

Offline chirp

  • RootsChat Senior
  • ****
  • Posts: 419
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.natio
    • View Profile
Re: Why were ages on 1800s census's so loosely accurate?
« Reply #27 on: Monday 05 March 18 09:54 GMT (UK) »
Yay indeed for the census collectors that didn't follow instructions! Also for those parish clerks who added their own little comments.
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

RootsChat is the busiest, largest free family history forum site in the country. It is completely free to use. Register now.
Also register instantly with Facebook or Twitter (and other social networks). Start your genealogy search now.


Offline Paulo Leeds

  • RootsChat Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 184
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Why were ages on 1800s census's so loosely accurate?
« Reply #28 on: Monday 05 March 18 13:24 GMT (UK) »
Yay indeed for the census collectors that didn't follow instructions! Also for those parish clerks who added their own little comments.

what sort of comments? :)

RootsChat is the busiest, largest free family history forum site in the country. It is completely free to use. Register now.
Also register instantly with Facebook or Twitter (and other social networks). Start your genealogy search now.


Offline Maiden Stone

  • RootsChat Aristocrat
  • ******
  • Posts: 1,897
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Why were ages on 1800s census's so loosely accurate?
« Reply #29 on: Monday 05 March 18 15:29 GMT (UK) »
Yay indeed for the census collectors that didn't follow instructions! Also for those parish clerks who added their own little comments.

what sort of comments? :)
One of my favourites is baptism of an illegitimate child during Napoleonic Wars. Father was named. Then it was noted that the woman's husband was away serving in a certain regiment.
I've come accross a few baptisms where incest was suspected. I mentioned one last week on a thread about step-siblings marrying.
Then there were the Anglican curates trying to uphold laws of Church and State in force during early 18thC, venting their frustration against recalcitrant Catholics in their parishes.
Some 18thC Catholic registers, which were simple notebooks, have entries which were nothing to do with church matters such as invitations to dinner, settlements of financial matters between parishioners, yield from a fruit tree, cures for human & animal ailments.

Offline dillybert

  • RootsChat Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 205
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.natio
    • View Profile
Re: Why were ages on 1800s census's so loosely accurate?
« Reply #30 on: Monday 05 March 18 16:14 GMT (UK) »
It would be interesting to know whether people routinely needed birth certificates for anything specific. When would you need it? The concept of how people thought about ID was quite different to now.

If you didn't really need it, maybe registering it was good enough. There are very few earlier birth certificates handed down my family, given the number of people born, so I suspect most poorer people just didn't get them if you had to pay.

Anyone know how this usage of the birth cert itself evolved?

 
SMITH - Brewood/Coven, Staffs; FORSTER, Staffs; BIGGS - Lidlington, Beds; WILLCOCKS, Devon/South London; ALLEN - IOW/SouthLondon

Online coombs

  • RootsChat Marquessate
  • *******
  • Posts: 5,547
  • Research the dead....forget the living.
    • View Profile
Re: Why were ages on 1800s census's so loosely accurate?
« Reply #31 on: Monday 05 March 18 16:16 GMT (UK) »
Yes in 1841 some people's exact ages were given. And I even know a Surrey parish where county of birth was given for some people not born in county. If only the enumerator of St Peter Le Bailey, Oxford did this, I would have got the county of birth of my ancestor James Smith who died in 1849.
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 chirp

  • RootsChat Senior
  • ****
  • Posts: 419
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.natio
    • View Profile
Re: Why were ages on 1800s census's so loosely accurate?
« Reply #32 on: Monday 05 March 18 16:46 GMT (UK) »
Apologies if this appears twice, I sent my message but it seems to have disappeared.

I have a baptism entry where the clerk has recorded the father's occupation in French which was useful as I suspected the family was from France. This is not proof I know but interesting. Sometimes there are additional comments such as information stating from where an incomer originated. Another particularly useful one for me was the note that the burial of a young man, whose name was the same as his cousin, was the "son of the shoemaker".
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 mike175

  • RootsChat Aristocrat
  • ******
  • Posts: 1,689
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Why were ages on 1800s census's so loosely accurate?
« Reply #33 on: Monday 05 March 18 17:07 GMT (UK) »
Yay indeed for the census collectors that didn't follow instructions! Also for those parish clerks who added their own little comments.

what sort of comments? :)

My favourite so far: "Conceived in fornication!;D ;D ;D
Baskervill - Devon, Foss - Hants, Gentry - Essex, Metherell - Devon, Partridge - Essex/London, Press - Norfolk/London, Stone - Surrey/Sussex, Stuttle - Essex/London, Wheate - Middlesex/Essex/Coventry/Oxfordshire/Staffs, Gibson - Essex, Wyatt - Essex/Kent

Online Sloe Gin

  • RootsChat Aristocrat
  • ******
  • Posts: 1,927
    • View Profile
Re: Why were ages on 1800s census's so loosely accurate?
« Reply #34 on: Tuesday 06 March 18 12:41 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".

I think there was a charge for full birth certificates, but a "short" birth certificate was free of charge.  These only record the name of the child and date of birth, and are usually on very flimsy paper.  I found a couple of these in family papers from the early 20th c and they had almost disintegrated, so many of these will not have survived.
UK census content is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk  Transcriptions are my own.

Online coombs

  • RootsChat Marquessate
  • *******
  • Posts: 5,547
  • Research the dead....forget the living.
    • View Profile
Re: Why were ages on 1800s census's so loosely accurate?
« Reply #35 on: Tuesday 06 March 18 13:52 GMT (UK) »
I have an ancestor whose birth date varies inbetween 1814 and 1833 in the census. Yes, a 19 year variation. And he had a common name. But I know from plenty of other documents that he is the same person. He is 38 in 1871. Again it may have been a mistake for 58. Ages on censuses only as accurate as what is being told, and the enumerator probably made mistakes themselves.
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