Author Topic: What makes a head of household?  (Read 480 times)

Offline J Buxton

  • RootsChat Extra
  • **
  • Posts: 43
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
What makes a head of household?
« on: Tuesday 11 June 19 23:07 BST (UK) »
The reason I ask this is that I found an entry in the 1901 census where Percy Buxton (10) was a nephew, Elsie Blackburn (11) was a daughter, Bella Cronk (21) was a housekeeper and Lena Cronk (10) was a visitor, but there was no head of household.  I thought at first this was a partial record but I couldn’t find anyone named Blackburn in Withernsea.  The person who I think should be head (ie Percy’s uncle and Elsie’s Father) was in Hull that night.
This made me think that if the person who owns the house is not at home, is the hired help in charge and so head of household?
Buxton - (Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire)

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 Marquessate
  • *******
  • Posts: 3,100
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: What makes a head of household?
« Reply #1 on: Tuesday 11 June 19 23:39 BST (UK) »
If Elsie was recorded as daughter then it follows that the head of household was one of Elsie's parents. Although Mr Blackburn was away from home he was still head of the household; he paid rates, bills and other expenses, paid housekeeper's wages, made decisions. He may have given the housekeeper instructions before he left.
I've come across census returns with no named head but with first adult's relation to head as wife, or young adult/teenage son or daughter, so assumed the husband/parent was temporarily absent.
As only the census enumerator's book survives, you don't know who filled in the household schedule. Mr Blackburn may have done it after he returned home, if he was only away a day or 2.
There were instructions for correct completion of household return.

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 Chris Doran

  • RootsChat Senior
  • ****
  • Posts: 313
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: What makes a head of household?
« Reply #2 on: Wednesday 12 June 19 02:53 BST (UK) »
I came across one where the head of the household was a few months old, accompanied by his nurse and a few servants, the parents presumably being away. Someone must have decided to work down the line of succession.
Researching Penge, Anerley, (incuding the Crystal Palace) and neighbouring parts of Beckenham, currently in London (Bromley), formerly Surrey and/or Kent.

Offline stanmapstone

  • RootsChat Marquessate
  • *******
  • Posts: 24,383
    • View Profile
Re: What makes a head of household?
« Reply #3 on: Wednesday 12 June 19 09:03 BST (UK) »
"It should be noted that the headship of a household was a social position and did not necessarily reflect biological descent. Thus, in one household an aged widow may be described as head but in another case  a son or daughter who has taken over running the affairs of the group might be so desibnated. Occasionally two men or women sharing a set of rooms might both be put down as joint heads. Sometimes the usual head of the houshold was absent and this was denoted by the first person in the household being described as wife, son, servant or some other term."Making Sense of the Census" by Edward Higgs, the National Archives.

Stan
Mapstone, Mapston.
Census Information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline Maiden Stone

  • RootsChat Marquessate
  • *******
  • Posts: 3,100
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: What makes a head of household?
« Reply #4 on: Wednesday 12 June 19 14:49 BST (UK) »
I came across one where the head of the household was a few months old, accompanied by his nurse and a few servants, the parents presumably being away. Someone must have decided to work down the line of succession.
Young Master X may have been lord of all he surveyed and an autocratic ruler with everyone else in the household rushing to do his bidding. Perhaps the designation "head" was tongue-in-cheek.  :)
My great-aunt and her husband were both "head" on 1911 census. They were recently married, had no children and both worked full-time. It may have been in jest, it may have reflected that they saw their marriage as partnership, or may have been my great-aunt insisting on equality.

Offline Skoosh

  • RootsChat Marquessate
  • *******
  • Posts: 4,529
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: What makes a head of household?
« Reply #5 on: Wednesday 12 June 19 15:15 BST (UK) »
The person who sits at the head  of the table?  ;D

Skoosh.

Offline stanmapstone

  • RootsChat Marquessate
  • *******
  • Posts: 24,383
    • View Profile
Re: What makes a head of household?
« Reply #6 on: Wednesday 12 June 19 15:40 BST (UK) »
Apparently the 1951 Census ruffled some feathers

The census authorities designated the "head of the household" to be the senior male in the home
The executive of the Married Women's Association passed a resolution noting "with dismay the assumption by the Registrar-General .....that the husband is automatically the head of the household"

Stan
Mapstone, Mapston.
Census Information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline sugarfizzle

  • RootsChat Aristocrat
  • ******
  • Posts: 1,205
    • View Profile
Re: What makes a head of household?
« Reply #7 on: Wednesday 12 June 19 16:06 BST (UK) »
Apparently the 1951 Census ruffled some feathers

The census authorities designated the "head of the household" to be the senior male in the home
The executive of the Married Women's Association passed a resolution noting "with dismay the assumption by the Registrar-General .....that the husband is automatically the head of the household"

Stan

Stan, That is absolutely disgraceful by today's standards and for that year.  A young widow could presumably have her 10 yr old son, or even 2 yr old son, as head of household instead of her
Or was it adult eldest male?

Regards Margaret
STEER, mainly Surrey, Kent; PINNOCKS/HAINES, Gosport, Hants; BARKER, mainly Broadwater, Sussex; Gosport, Hampshire; LAVERSUCH, Micheldever, Hampshire; WESTALL, London, Reading, Berks; HYDE, Croydon, Surrey; BRIGDEN, Hadlow, Kent and London; TUTHILL/STEPHENS, London
WILKINSON, Leeds, Yorkshire and Liverpool; WILLIAMSON, Liverpool; BEARE, Yeovil, Somerset; ALLEN, Kent and London; GORST, Liverpool; HOYLE, mainly Leeds, Yorkshire

Census Information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.go

Offline stanmapstone

  • RootsChat Marquessate
  • *******
  • Posts: 24,383
    • View Profile
Re: What makes a head of household?
« Reply #8 on: Wednesday 12 June 19 16:46 BST (UK) »
From The Times  Monday, April 9, 1951,
Mapstone, Mapston.
Census Information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk