Author Topic: Do you think you have ancestors who just lied on their forms?  (Read 1355 times)

Online coombs

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Re: Do you think you have ancestors who just lied on their forms?
« Reply #27 on: Friday 04 September 20 21:15 BST (UK) »
If women were marrying younger men, then they may have lied to hide the age gap. And even if a man married a woman 25 years younger he may have said he was just 15 years her senior when the census enumerator came calling. My ancestor born 1813 wed a woman born in 1839 in the 1860s. On the 1881 census he was 68 but said he was 60, and she said she was 41. His hospital admission records and death cert gave 1813 as his DOB, well they point to an 1813 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 wivenhoe

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Re: Do you think you have ancestors who just lied on their forms?
« Reply #28 on: Saturday 05 September 20 07:31 BST (UK) »

Lies........liars. Such harsh, ugly words.   Branded as a liar......one would hope this is not literally, but suggests that a person was publicly identified as knowingly giving false information in a very serious matter.

False information, knowingly given to.......police......Court......Customs.....Immigration...........statutory declaration. These are serious matters which carry full weight of the law.

Look at the Census as a social / domestic record. I suspect that the enumerator carried a greater degree of accountability than did the informants.

If you are describing your family to be mum, dad and children...why would you volunteer the fact that you are not really married. It is of no consequence to the enumerator or the government.

Inaccurate information about ages are just human vanity....hardly a lie.

Inaccurate information about marital status would be done to avoid censure and embarrassment associated with common law marriages........hardly a lie.

If the Census, or BDM records show information that conflicts with information that you have from other sources, see this to be additional information that you were not expecting to see, and consider what use it might be to your family research.

My examples where incorrect information was really useful -

Alien ancestor, arriving in Australia and enlisting for WW1, needed to be a British subject.  He appropriated details of his British-born mother, which details would otherwise have been impossible to locate with accuracy.   

Ancestor recording birth of her child, born to unmarried parents, and needing to give marriage date and place, identified details of her own earlier, first marriage. Again, would otherwise be difficult to locate with certainty.

Ancestor dying, second generation of this family in Australia, and death certificate informed by middle aged daughter. In naming parents of the dead woman, daughter was naming her own maternal grand parents. Daughter got one parent right, other name was the daughter's paternal great grandmother's name.

So I know that, during their lifetime, the family  of the deceased woman had good knowledge of their ancestors, beyond any means I might have had to know.

You can go through life never giving a false statement, but I doubt that you will have many friends.

Think....unexpected information.......and see what possibilities might follow.

And be measured in describing information as lies, and the informant to be a liar. 

Be kind to your ancestors.

Online coombs

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Re: Do you think you have ancestors who just lied on their forms?
« Reply #29 on: Monday 07 September 20 12:54 BST (UK) »
When I first did genealogy I thought birthplaces on censuses, as well as other details such as age, were checked and verified by a paper trial. I then learned that the enumerators just wrote down what they were told by the householder and that is it. No questions asked.
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 Sloe Gin

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Re: Do you think you have ancestors who just lied on their forms?
« Reply #30 on: Tuesday 08 September 20 12:53 BST (UK) »
Where people had help filling in the forms, there must have been plenty of misunderstandings.  I have a whole family recorded under the wrong surname.  I know it's them because the address matches a birth certificate very close to the date of the census.

All the forenames and ages match except for the head.  I guess what happened is that someone filled in the form for them.  The husband was out at work, and the helper asked the wife "What is Father's name?" meaning the father of the children.  She misunderstood and gave the name of her own father.  So the head of household is recorded as her long-deceased father, and the whole family in her maiden surname.

I then learned that the enumerators just wrote down what they were told by the householder and that is it. No questions asked.

Well, no, they usually copied what was written on the form (which may or may not have been completed by the householders themselves).  So there is mistranscription to be thrown into the mix as well.

On one census, one of my ancestors is shown as having been born in Ireland.  This doesn't match up with any known facts, and when looked at in context the family entered above him is Irish, so when transcribing into his book the enumerator miscounted the lines and added one 'ditto' too many.
UK census content is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk  Transcriptions are my own.

Offline BillyF

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Re: Do you think you have ancestors who just lied on their forms?
« Reply #31 on: Tuesday 08 September 20 13:40 BST (UK) »
Are they out and out lies, or just twisting the truth to make life more acceptable.

One of my gt grandmothers was born ( illegitimately) in a workhouse in 1868, but lived with her father ( long story) at the time of the 1871 census. This place was then given as her birthplace on the following censuses.

Then I`ve 2 sisters missing from the 1891 census. They`re not using any of the verified possible names that I have for them. It`s most frustrating as I have them, though not together, from 1861 until 1911.
I can only think that they each must have been perhaps living with a man and been using his name. They are not even with the men they went on to marry, one of them only they year after in 1892.

Offline brigidmac

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Re: Do you think you have ancestors who just lied on their forms?
« Reply #32 on: Tuesday 08 September 20 13:52 BST (UK) »
My great grandfather was allocated 3 extra children and two wives by transcribers in 1871
Although relationship of all people was supposed to.be to.head of household it is pretty obvious that these were the relationships to his lodgers wife

Unfortunately on ancestry ive seen this happen a few times and people copy the transcription rather than checking original and they dont question age and surname discrepencies

At least half of trees with this ancestor have given him two of these superflous  children but can be half excused because one of his daughters had the same middle name as their surname

Roberts,Fellman.Macdermid MCDERMID McDiarmid Gardner Jones ,Bloch,Irvine,Hallis Stevenson ,McKay