Category Archives: Census records

Over-enthusiastic form-filling helps fill in the gaps

Filling in forms can be confusing and so mistakes creep in. Errors made on the forms for the 1911 census can still be seen today, and these can be very helpful to a family history researcher. In earlier censuses, forms completed by householders were copied into a summary book by an enumerator and the originals were destroyed, but in 1911 the originals were kept, showing the householder’s signature and any errors they made.

I recently came across a 1911 census return for John King of 18 Quinn’s Buildings, Essex Road, Islington who recorded the full addresses where each of his children had been born, not just the required name of the town and county.They were:

Jessie King, aged 15, bookbinder, born 52 Winslade Road, Clapton, London.

John Edward King, aged 13, born 105 Malborough Road, Holloway, London.

Elizabeth Rose King, aged 10, born 39 Canning Road, Finsbury, London.

Bert King, aged 5, born 5 Elton Road, Newington Green, London.

Florence King, aged 3, born 17 Quinns Buildings, Islington, London.

Such ‘errors’ are extremely useful for anyone tracing the family.

Other errors found in the 1911 census forms include widowers/widows giving details of how many years they were married and how many children they had, even though this was not required.

If an enumerator had copied out the forms, as they had in previous censuses, this information would not have been included and would have been lost to later researchers.