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:No: 39
May 2008

May seminars
Coming to grips with FamilySearch WEA Centre 10:00am
: Pitfalls in family history research Tea Tree Gully Library 10:00am
13: Introduction to FH research – over 7 weeks with sessions of 1.5 hrs WEA Centre 8:00pm
25: Historical snapshots of Marion Marion Cultural Centre 10:30am
27: SA resources for family historians Park Holme Library 10:30am
29: Tracing your Scottish ancestors WEA Centre 6:30pm
30: Tracing your English ancestors from afar Fleurieu Peninsula FHG 10:00am
31: Coming to grips with FamilySearch WEA Centre 10:00am

June Seminars
No seminars programmed.

See the seminar program for more details.

Public Profiler/worldnames
An interesting new website, Public Profiler/worldnames plots eight million surnames using data from electoral rolls and phone directories. The site covers 300 million people in 26 countries, showing the origins of names and where families have moved. The site also reveals which of the five million first names (forenames) are most closely associated with different surnames and lists the top regions and cities for each surname. I tested it with the uncommon name Jaunay and was pleasantly surprised to see results.

Records of the English poor
Poor Law records (1662-1835) are among the most valuable of all sources for genealogists, but difficult/expensive for Australians to access. They can contain a mass of biographical detail. Of particular value are Settlement Examinations. To relieve parishes from being liable to provide relief to people settling without good links to the parish, the Settlement Act of 1662 placed restrictions on who could claim. Incomers to a parish were officially examined and if they were not legally settled in that parish they and their dependents could be forcibly removed. British Origins now has these records for London available online.

QLD BDM records
Note that BDM certificates from QLD are now $33.00. Access to birth and death certificates have been relaxed.

In this issue:
May seminars
June seminars
Public Profiler/worldnames
Records of the English poor
QLD BDM records

Feature article
The 1911 Census for England and Wales


Adelaide Proformat
5 Windana Mews
Glandore SA 5037

Tel: +61 8 8371 4465
Fax: +61 8 8374 4479


Drafting charts
Locating documents
Seminar presentations
Writing & publishing
SA lookup service
Ship paintings

Proformat News acknowledges the support by awe AWE

The 1911 Census for England and Wales
The 1911 Census was due for release on 1 Jan 2012. This was challenged and upheld in a ruling by the Information Commissioner in Dec 2006 due to a loophole in the Act that placed a 100-year embargo on its release. At this time the whole census has not been released. Most English counties are available, but Wales is still not available.

The National Archives [TNA] has gone into partnership with Findmypast to make the material available for a fee. It is important to point out that despite the ruling there is one field that will not be released until 2012.

If you are familiar with accessing the earlier censuses online then you should have no trouble with this census which is significant for many Australians whose immediate ancestors contributed to the huge wave of emigrants in the first half of the last century. The next available census will be for 1921 due for release on 1 Jan 2022. There is less likelihood of an earlier release of this census as the loophole in the Act was repaired before the taking of the 1921 Census. The 1931 census was lost in WW2 bombing and the 1941 Census was not taken. There was a census of sorts conducted of 29 Sep 1939 to ascertain persons eligible for National Registration at the outbreak of WW2.

The 1911 Census was taken on the night of 2/3 Apr 1911 and the following details were recorded for each person:
      • Name and surname
      • Relationship to head of family
      • Age (with separate columns for male and female)
      • Marital condition
      • Number of years married (married women only)
      • Children born to present marriage, still living, who have died (married women only)
      • Occupation
      • Industry/service with which worker is connected
      • Employment status
      • Birthplace
      • Nationality (if born abroad)
      • Any infirmity – this field is embargoed until 1 Jan 2012
      • Number of rooms in the house

This is the first census to be scanned in colour. This example shows the quite complex instructions the household had to follow to complete the schedule. To see a larger version just click on the following image and use your browser back button to return to the newsletter.:

Unlike the preceding censuses, the 1911 Census has two record numbers because for the first time the householder schedules (RG14) have survived as well as the enumerators' summary books (RG78).

The 1911 Census is incomplete. All of the original householder schedules have survived, but some of the Enumerators’ Summary books (RG78), relating to the following counties and registration sub-districts, are missing from the archives:
      BKM: Amersham
      CAM: Leverington, Walpole St Peter
      DEV: Okehampton
      CHS: Lymm, Budworth, Runcorn
      GLA: Central Cardiff
      LEI: Lutterworth
      LIN: unspecified registration sub-districts at this time
      SOM: Keynsham, Long Ashton
      STS: Repton, Tamworth
      WAR: Atherstone
      WRY: Norton
This means that in a small number of cases a searcher will not be able to locate a household through the residential place field by using certain names such as the civil parish, as these were transcribed from the enumerators' summary books to generate the search function in the database. However, one should still be able to locate the original household page through the other search fields. The 1911 Census was damaged by water and this has made the text on a very small number of household pages illegible and in other cases the document will be of poor quality.

The issues apparent in the earlier censuses also apply to the 1911 Census. (see Newsletter #5) There is an issue that is unique in extent in the 1911 Census. By far the biggest cause of people missing from the 1911 census was the result of civil disobedience mainly by those campaigning for the right of women to vote. As part of the protest against the government’s refusal to grant women the vote, a mass boycott of the census was organised by the suffragette movement. It is thought that thousands of women may be missing from the 1911 Census. Of course all censuses have missing people but this is the only one with a very large group of dissenters.

The advantage of being able to access householder schedules will become immediately obvious to family historians when the researcher may see their ancestors own handwriting for the very first time along with their signature.

It is a fact of life that in our times the only way we will ever see material being made available online is by a commercial partnership between the record-holder and a commercial web site. While I have no particular axe to grind with the hosts of the 1911 Census, Findmypast, the fact that the TNA chose a different provider from the 1901 Census means that one now has to open yet another pay-to-use web site. In fact the surname search facility for the 1911 Census that allows a search on surname or given name only with full wildcard facilities is a huge improvement over the 1901 Census where one has to provide both surname and given name.

How thorough the indexing of the 1911 Census was is still being determined. Research on all previous censuses has revealed a range of transcription problems with some providers producing better results than others. The claim being made for the 1911 Census is an accuracy level of an incredible better than 98.5%. A positive feature is that there is scope to improve the accuracy by allowing users to report errors. The high accuracy rate is due to the processing required by the TNA including double-keying every entry by different people and matching them for variations. Of course the material contained will only reflect the information provided by people in 1911 and in that matter we can expect far less than 100% accuracy or even honesty!

Findmypast in association with TNA hosts the web site. This is a PayAsYouGo site and customers who are already registered on are able to enter their username and password and use any Findmypast credits across both sites. As with many such sites you are usually given a range of purchase options. I recommend that you always purchase the smallest option available. Invariably you will find with all these sites you will end up with unused credits which will eventually expire and be lost to you.You can minimise this by purchasing small amounts of credits. Sometimes the unit price per credit is marginally less when making a larger purchase and so if you are prepared to spend some time before making your initial purchase and determine just how many purchases you will make you can make savings too. For example the 1911 Census site offers 2 PayAsYouGo packages; 60 credits for £6.95 or 280 credits for £24.95. In the first example each credit costs about 11.6p and the second 8.9p. The searching is free and to view the transcript will cost 10 credits and the original page 30 credits. Of course a serious researcher will always access the primary document wherever possible. Thus clearly if you have 9 or multiples of 9 pages to download the 280 credit option is the better purchase.

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