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Finding missing census records

Discussion in 'Search tips - discussion' started by B C Chris, Jan 10, 2015.

  1. B C Chris

    B C Chris LostCousins Member

    I have several missing census records from different parts of England that a family has a missing census record. Ocassionally I have found them on the next census. While I have tried different spellings of surnames, different sites(LDS, FMP, Ancestry and Free cen), different family members, first name, date of birth, place of birth, occupation, I still come up with no record. If it happens to be the 1841, 1881 or 1911 I could miss out finding a lost cousin in England or 1881 for Canada and 1880,1940 for the USA. Has anyone had a different strategy?
    B C Chris
  2. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Fortunately you're unlikely to miss out on finding a cousin as a result of a single household missing from the census - unless all of their relatives are in a different country for which there is no census available.
  3. Tim

    Tim Moderator Staff Member

    I've had the same issue. Sometimes you find them, sometimes you don't.

    If the normal census checking via names doesn't find them, I try searching using the addresses without names. I've also used neighbours in the preceding census or post census to try and find people, names can be mis-spelt, transcribed incorrectly or even just plain wrong.

    I also check to see if they left the country. Or I look for baptisms with the correct parent names to see if they've moved parish.

    Peter's almost correct, you could miss out on a couple of siblings in that 20 year gap, but I feel that pain in having all the census details for a person/family but there is one you can't find.

    Or if you're using the coloured reports in FTAnalyzer, one red cell in a line of green!

  4. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    If you really want to find the missing entries (and bear in mind that for a match to result your cousins would have to be just as determined as you) then you have to go beyond simple mistranscriptions and assume that some of the information is completely wrong.

    For example, the mother may have remarried. Or the enumerator may have garbled the info. Searching by address is an option at Findmypast.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. Heather

    Heather LostCousins Member

    B C Chris try putting the least information you can in the search, try just the surname (especially if it is an unusual one), try that surname within the whole county ( if you are 100% sure that the family never moved from that county). Unusual first name ? try just the first name (maybe the surname was misspelt), try an address search with the addresses from the previous and following censuses. Unusual occupation? try searching for that, of course if any of these searches bring up too many hits, then more information must be added, but sometimes the saying that "less is more" really does work sometimes, good luck.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  6. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    I found an 1881 entry today which the member concerned had been trying to find for years.

    The man concerned was not living with his family - he was in prison. His surname and place of birth were very badly mangled in the handwritten census, but at least the surname began with the right letter and his first name and age were accurate.

    This is the sort of entry that I was referring to yesterday - where it's necessary to assume that there's more to it than just a transcription error.
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
  7. Liberty

    Liberty LostCousins Megastar

    I have one in my tree who is well disguised in 1881. His name was William Eastoe, born in (and usually living in) Banningham, Norfolk, and he was an innkeeper and cattle dealer. In 1881 he was away from his family, in a hotel in London, down as Wm Easton, born Birmingham, Warwickshire. The main reason I realised it was him was that he was tucked into a run of cattle dealers from Norfolk. Even with wildcards on both names I nearly overlooked or discarded him because his place of birth was so 'obviously' wrong.

    And I overlooked my Great Grandfather a number of times as his surname was so badly mangled in the transcription. (First name John, so not much help there) Plus his place of birth varies wildly between censuses (sometimes the farm, sometimes the parish, etc). The reason I was ever looking at the census entry was that my GGM's brother (his future brother in law) was visiting that night. I kept looking at it and wondering idly, 'Is Edward there on business or is he visiting a friend?' Eventually the penny dropped with an almighty clunk.
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
  8. patzy

    patzy LostCousins Member

    In one census I found the two young children of a pair of my 'cousins' living alone with a person I'd never come across. I thought at first that their parents had died in the last few years.
    But I eventually found them. They were aboard a boat and were somewhere along the east coast of England at the time.
  9. B C Chris

    B C Chris LostCousins Member

    I just succeeded in finding out the pages of the 1891 census which would have my Simeon Cox family living at 38 New Bartholomew Street in Birmingham were missing thanks to FreeCEN. FMP would only give no results when the address was entered but perhaps if I had put in say a street number before that I would have had results and then used the next button to see that pages 45 and 46 were missing. Incidently my grandmother was born the year before at that address so I was not relying on previous census. I am not sure this will help with my many other missing census records but it may help someone else. Unfortunately the website is for only Birmingham area.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 18, 2015
  10. Alexander Bisset

    Alexander Bisset Administrator Staff Member

    If you are searching for addresses on a census it is a very bad idea to put in the street number. Only a relatively small percentage of properties even those with street numbers have been indexed with the street number. Basically that violates the standard search principal of entering as little information as possible into the search as you can to get a small number of results.

    I'd have searched for just the street name and the city rather than the exact address. Then as you say you can page back and forward to find the census page. This is an excellent technique with address searches on FMP when you fail to find your relative on a census. eg: I've had people at a farmhouse (it works for rural as well as city locations) on the 1871 and 1891 census but I couldn't find them on the 1881, searching for the address also brought up nothing. So I looked at the neighbouring properties and was able to find one of them and there were my ancestors still next door, just the name had got mucked up due to enumerators marks making it easy to mistake for a different name. The property name was simply missing so that's why an address search hadn't worked. The next door approach however saved the day.
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
  11. chrissy1

    chrissy1 LostCousins Star

    I enter the Christian name(s), year of birth +/-1 and place of birth on Ancestry if I think the surname has been mistranscribed and as long and it isn't a very common Christian name, I usually get results. (For common Christian names it just takes longer.) However, if the place of birth has also been mistranscribed, it can cause problems, but sometimes a county alone will yield results.
  12. Alexander Bisset

    Alexander Bisset Administrator Staff Member

    I usually put in first names I can never be sure if my relatives were Christians or not. If they weren't then like me they wouldn't have a Christian name.
  13. chrissy1

    chrissy1 LostCousins Star

    I am old fashioned and still refer to them as Christian names rather than first names. However, at least one branch of my family never baptised any of their children, so safe to say they were probably atheists, but at the time, official forms still referred to their first names as Christian names...........
  14. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Or Catholics, or non-conformists, or Quakers whose baptisms wouldn't appear in the Church of England parish registers (where they were married and buried may provide some clues).
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
  15. Alexander Bisset

    Alexander Bisset Administrator Staff Member

    Fair enough as someone who is not a Christian I always take exception to people using that term. Indeed on any official forms if they have that as an entry I always write not applicable, just to make the point. I find the term offensive as it betrays a lack of thought.
  16. chrissy1

    chrissy1 LostCousins Star

    Last edited: Apr 19, 2015
  17. chrissy1

    chrissy1 LostCousins Star

    It was certainly not my intention to offend. My family history program refers to 'given names' rather than first names, which I find confusing, as the surname is surely the name already given, but that's my logic, so I prefer to stick to conventional terms I understand.
  18. Alexander Bisset

    Alexander Bisset Administrator Staff Member

    Surnames are taken as the name of the family whereas the first name is the name "given" to the child. Hence given name.

    The more usual terms these days are forename and surname.
  19. DianeSG7

    DianeSG7 LostCousins Member

    On the subject of given names, wouldn't it be wonderful if they had always used them! Then for example my Henry George would not have always been called "Jim" leading me on a wild goose chase looking for a James :confused:
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
  20. chrissy1

    chrissy1 LostCousins Star

    My grandmother's brother Arthur (no middle name) was always known as Joe but thankfully her niece set me on the right track before I went searching for Joseph.............
    • Agree Agree x 1

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