Author Topic: Occupation of unmarried women on English Death Certificates  (Read 5506 times)

Offline Andrew Tarr

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Re: Occupation of unmarried women on English Death Certificates
« Reply #9 on: Wednesday 06 April 16 09:49 BST (UK) »
Not quite the same but it annoys me when widows are described as"relict "ie" Relict of the late Joe Bloggs" as if they were of no value on their own.

I'm trying to look at this through the other end of the telescope, as it annoys me (well, not really) when experienced family historians seem unable or unwilling to interpret old records in the terms in which they were written.  Guy's explanation sets out the reasons.  After a few decades of 'women's rights' the pendulum has swung the other way, and some appear to get offended by what they find, perhaps blinkered even.  We can only take things as we find them.  It's annoying, but it's also a lesson in history - as maybe the feminist era will become.  :(
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Offline StevieSteve

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Re: Occupation of unmarried women on English Death Certificates
« Reply #10 on: Wednesday 06 April 16 09:59 BST (UK) »
On another "female" matter (sorry to go off course) I have been doing some FreeReg marriage transcripts and these are from the WW1 years and no matter if the woman who married is a spinster or a widow not one of them has an occupation given out of the 500 or so I've done so far.  Liverpool St Peter's.

Why would that be?

Just a guess but maybe because the wife would be expected to give it up and become a full-time wife and mother

Why is occupation on the cert at all? It's not on the banns so it's not needed before the qedding. Maybe To identity at a later date that a man had married? As the wife would no longer have that job, maybe it wasn't deemed as useful for ID purposes
Middlesex: KING,  MUMFORD, COOK, ROUSE, GOODALL, BROWN
Oxford: MATTHEWS, MOSS
Kent: SPOONER, THOMAS, KILLICK, COLLINS
Cambs: PRIGG, LEACH
Hants: FOSTER
Montgomery: BREES
Surrey: REEVE

Offline Guy Etchells

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Re: Occupation of unmarried women on English Death Certificates
« Reply #11 on: Wednesday 06 April 16 10:36 BST (UK) »
On another "female" matter (sorry to go off course) I have been doing some FreeReg marriage transcripts and these are from the WW1 years and no matter if the woman who married is a spinster or a widow not one of them has an occupation given out of the 500 or so I've done so far.  Liverpool St Peter's.

Why would that be?

Possibly because they did not give an occupation to the registrar.
In most of the Marriage Certificates I have no occupation is given for the bride but I have one from 1936 where the occupation is Telephone Equipment Maker.

It really depends on whether the question was asked or not.
Cheers
Guy
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Offline pharmaT

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Re: Occupation of unmarried women on English Death Certificates
« Reply #12 on: Wednesday 06 April 16 10:45 BST (UK) »
Rather than get annoyed from a feminist perspective I get frustrated that I get less of a picture of my female ancestors. I feel like part of the picture is missing
Campbell, Dunn, Dickson, Fell, Forest, Norie, Pratt, Somerville, Thompson, Tyler among others

Offline Andrew Tarr

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Re: Occupation of unmarried women on English Death Certificates
« Reply #13 on: Wednesday 06 April 16 12:02 BST (UK) »
Rather than get annoyed from a feminist perspective I get frustrated that I get less of a picture of my female ancestors. I feel like part of the picture is missing

In the Victorian era I think it was unusual for a married woman to be anything other than a 'housewife', or - if comfortably off - simply at home, of independent means.  In that case it hardly needed to be stated, though it sometimes was on a census form.  Before marriage many girls had occupations, often a servant, or dressmaker or milliner or other seemly or ladylike activity.

My impression is that when a young couple became 'engaged', intimate behaviour commenced, and if she became pregnant a marriage was arranged.  By then she may well have given up the 'activity' or employment, so none was recorded in the register.  That often seems to be the case in the marriages I have transcribed.
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Offline venelow

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Re: Occupation of unmarried women on English Death Certificates
« Reply #14 on: Wednesday 06 April 16 16:42 BST (UK) »
Hi All

Thank you for your replies but they have not really covered the question I was asking. This was not a women's rights question, or a women's occupation question or about widows but rather one of the procedure used in recording spinsters' deaths. 

It has been asserted to me by a few people that the informant did not have to provide the name and occupation of the deceased spinster's father. They found it unusual and have ascribed it to ulterior motives of trying to cover up who her real father was.

I don't want to go into the actual details of the case as it occurs in a published biography. Some people have decided she was the daughter of X because they have found a baptism that seems to fit but the father named in the baptism does not have the same name or occupation as the father stated on the death certificate.

To Anthony and Scouseboy; my remark about the relationship between the informant and the Registrar was a separate fact I discovered in the course of my research. Nowhere on the certificate are the words son in law.  It's just another little twist in this vexing case. Would the informant lie to his father in law? Would they collude to give false information?

Let me clarify my question. I think that the recording of a spinster's father and his occupation was a standard procedure in the recording of an Entry of Death of an unmarried woman asked of the informant who may or may not have known. But I don't know if I am correct in this thinking. Was this a question asked from the start of Civil Registration or was it made standard at a later date?

Thank you.

Venelow
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Online AntonyMMM

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Re: Occupation of unmarried women on English Death Certificates
« Reply #15 on: Wednesday 06 April 16 17:04 BST (UK) »
Listing an unmarried woman as "daughter of ...." and the father's occupation is quite normal, and a widow in terms of "widow of ..... " and his occupation, so I certainly wouldn't call it unusual.

The questions asked (and the information recorded ) on any registration derive from the various Acts of Parliament, and specifically the GRO instructions and manuals in force at the time. However when you look at certificates it is clear that from the beginning,  and still today,  registrar's have always interpreted those instructions with some degree of latitude.

I have seen many examples of the wording you describe, but also some that clearly don't follow that pattern, so it is impossible to draw a definitive conclusion from the wording alone - it needs to be checked against other known sources (as you are doing).

Did they collude to give false information ? People certainly did, and still do, lie to registrars, but the question should always  be "why would they ?"  "What would they gain by doing so" ?
 
Whether the informant knew the correct information to give is another matter..... what was the qualification of the informant that allowed him to register the death ? How likely was he to know the correct information ?

In my experience, even today it isn't unusual for those registering deaths to get things wrong, or just not know ..... even things like their own mother's maiden name.

Offline carol8353

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Re: Occupation of unmarried women on English Death Certificates
« Reply #16 on: Wednesday 06 April 16 19:00 BST (UK) »
Have you seen this http://home.clara.net/dixons/Certificates/deaths.htm  it explains over the years what was required (and expected) by law on English and Welsh death certs.
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Offline Beeonthebay

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Re: Occupation of unmarried women on English Death Certificates
« Reply #17 on: Wednesday 06 April 16 19:51 BST (UK) »
On another "female" matter (sorry to go off course) I have been doing some FreeReg marriage transcripts and these are from the WW1 years and no matter if the woman who married is a spinster or a widow not one of them has an occupation given out of the 500 or so I've done so far.  Liverpool St Peter's.

Why would that be?

Possibly because they did not give an occupation to the registrar.
In most of the Marriage Certificates I have no occupation is given for the bride but I have one from 1936 where the occupation is Telephone Equipment Maker.

It really depends on whether the question was asked or not.
Cheers
Guy

So all those women who worked in munitions, factories, shops, bus and tram conductors, railways, farms etc. which were all essential jobs for the war effort were never asked about their occupation at the time of marriage, perhaps it was down to the local church as to which questions were asked?
Williams, Owens, Pritchard, Povall, Banks, Brown.