Friday, February 15, 2008

Working the 1841 British Census

I honestly felt like entitling this post : " Where do I go from here ? ,
All of this after completing my first ever peek at the Britsh Census of 1841.

The ancestor that I was hoping to spot was named Agnes Haines. Because she is linked to my Carroll family, I decided to include her in my research finding on this blog.

Agnes' daughter, Jenny, was the wife of John Joseph Carroll.
It has been over a year that I had been toying with the idea of paying a 72 hour trial with British Origins ( which also includes Wales ).If you don't know this website, you can look at it here . Irish origins are also available for subscription, but Scots origins are free when you subscribe to any of the others.
I was very interested because a 72 hour trial seemed pretty good for myself. At this point in time, Agnes Haines is my only British born ancestor. Because she was born on January 22, 1830, in England ( place still unknown; the date was obtained by another genealogist), she would have logically been in the 1841 Census.

But, every genealogist knows that logic and the Cenus enumerator don't often meet hand in hand...
Some first impressions on working with the 1841 British Census at British origins ?
The research engine was very correct. It allowed you to search either exact spelling,close variants or all variants. I always throw a wide net, so I did all variants for Haines.

Which gave me : Hains,Haynes, Hans, etc.

Since I also did all variants for the first name "Agnes", the results came up with many more Anns' than Agnes'.

The Census listings themselves were clear and well oragnized.It was written in table form with columns detailing place of birth,county of birth, place of residance, etc.On that point, it is easy to read and understand.

The only thing that I regretted that there were no groupings by households, which would have facilitated the job ( lucky though, I only had 4 1/2 pages to study.

That meant that I had to search for the household number of each girl ( the ones within a 5 year range of my ancestor) and do another search to find other Haines in her city and county of residence.
Sometimes, I found what I considered to be whole families ; an adult male, an adult female and several children. It is a shame that in 1841, the enumerator did not put the relationships between the perosns living in a household.

I checked the parent's place of birth... many were both UK born, which eliminates them as my ancestors. Agnes Haines was listed in the 1880 Philadelphia Census as having an English Dad and an Irish Mom.

Tedious, to say the least, but I managed to find some "potential" ancestors. But, I only found NO couples with an Irish born wife ! I don't know if I should wave my white flag or not... I noted all the couples with a wife born "out of county". That's vague... I don't know if they would have put Agnes Haines Irish born Mom in the same category. But then again, I saw no Irish born lady, with a daughter around the age of my ancestor.

To sum up my trial of this paid website, interesting,clear Census charts, even if a lack of household groupings may slow you down ( if you have many Census items to search, you may want to take a longer subscription).

Now, two questions for those of you who know British genealogy :

-Knowing that I have a birthdate to work with , would it be recommended search for the birth info for my selected Agnes/Anne Haines in the census ?

-How is when it comes for British birth information ?

Thank you in advance for any advise you may spare.

Have a nice day.

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