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Help searching the 1911 Census?

Discussion in 'Search tips - discussion' started by A. Muse, Oct 25, 2020.

  1. A. Muse

    A. Muse LostCousins Member

    Is there a way of searching just the 'Infirmity' column of the 1911 Census?
    I am trying to find people living in Nottingham who were blind.
    Using 'blind' as a keyword brings up occupations, such as 'blind maker'
    My problem is that I don't know the names of the people I'm looking for!
    In my grandfather's wedding photo (August 1910 - West Ham, Essex {now London}) relations (now deceased) have identified a woman as 'Blind Aunt'. My grandfather was wounded in WW1 and was sent home to recover but instead of going to East London where he came from, he went to stay 'with a blind Aunt and Uncle in Nottingham'. I believe both the uncle and aunt were blind, but this may not be the case.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.
  2. Susan48

    Susan48 LostCousins Star

    The search screen for the 1911 census on findmypast does not have a specific box for the Infirmity column so it looks as though it's not possible to search for anything entered in that column.
    My approach would be to identify your grandfather's aunts and uncles and see if you can find any living in Nottingham at the appropriate time. I hope you find the relevant information in the end.
  3. A. Muse

    A. Muse LostCousins Member

    I have been able to eliminate my Grandfathers' uncles and aunts, as none were blind and all lived in East London. It is possible they were his wife's uncle and aunt, although so far I can find no links to Nottingham. It is also possible that my father and my aunt who put names to people in the photo would have used the terms 'uncle' and 'aunt' as a polite form of address for people that their parents were on first name terms with. It certainly happened with me in the '50's.
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
  4. At home in NZ

    At home in NZ LostCousins Star

    One thought comes to mind, if there was something like an 'institute for the blind' in Nottingham they might be able to assist.
    Otherwise you can hope your grandfather will turn up in the 1921 census.
  5. Helen7

    Helen7 LostCousins Superstar

    Searching the 1911 census on Ancestry for people in Nottingham as an 'exact place' and keyword 'Blind' (again exact) gives you 66 hits, and looking though these quickly - by hovering the mouse over 'View Record' - you can easily eliminate those with occupations in the blind-making industry. There are also quite a few young single residents of a blind institution (so in answer to At home in NZ there was an institute for the blind there), but these seem too young to be the aunt and uncle you seek.

    I found this left only 3 blind people. One of these is a 76-year-old widow (Elizabeth Brewster) born in Belgium, but she seems unlikely. The other two are in the same household: Eliza Martin (54), blind for 22 years and Thomas Martin (44) a blind piano player, blind since birth. They are described as Aunt and Uncle of the householder John Mason (36) who is there with his wife Margaret and their 2 children. All in the household were born in Nottingham according to the census. Could the Martins possibly be the 'aunt' and 'uncle' of your grandfather?
  6. Heather

    Heather LostCousins Member

    A great piece of detective work Helen7, well done. I don't think you could do this on FMP as there isn't a keyword box. I do hope these are the people that A. Muse is looking for.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. A. Muse

    A. Muse LostCousins Member

    Thank you Helen for your work and interest. I had tried your method but was sceptical about the results as it turned up so few blind people for such a large area as Nottingham. I also found that the transcriptions are not all they might be, with the two you list transcribed as born ‘Ostend Belgravia’ and ‘Blind Peons Player’. I have also tried a broader search on Nottinghamshire but have not turned up any likely names, but again with transcriptions done by someone who clearly did not have English as their first language.

    I suppose I shouldn’t be too critical as it is a lot easier than the old days winding through rolls of microfilm in the dingy basements at Chancery Lane.

    I will concentrate on The 2 Martins, who appear to be a man and his sister-in-law. I guess there will be a lot of Mr Martins marrying an Eliza/ Elizabeth as I can’t narrow the area to only Nottingham because of the London connection. I have found the marriage of the head of the household - John Mason to Margaret Martin in 1895.

    I think that it is right to rule out the institutions (although I have looked through all of the surnames), as they would not have been able to put up my war wounded grandfather as lodger in an institution (his wounds were not eye related).

    Thank you all again for your interest. I will try to upload aunt.JPG a picture of the lady in question.

    Regards Barry
  8. A. Muse

    A. Muse LostCousins Member

    I was not convinced the the 'Martins' mentioned above were the persons I was looking for, so I left well alone, until today, mainly because I was not totally convinced that the search had brought up all of the blind people in Nottingham.

    I started to look at my paternal grandmother's side of the family just to fill in gaps. As youngsters her father and his siblings were in and out of the workhouse and not easy to pin down.
    I started on the censuses for one James Purcell born 4 Feb 1864 in Brick Lane (from baptism records). 1871 shows him in East Ham Industrial School and 1881 back with his Mother and older sister in Mile End Old Town working as a printer. I was not sure about entries that looked like him in 1891, so jumped to 1911 to start working backwards, I did not restrict the area of residence or birth but did put in an approximate birth year. I was surprised to see a James Purcell of the right age in Nottingham turn up and even more surprised that he was blind, born in Stepney and married to a blind woman.

    I'm not surprised the using blind as a 'keyword' didn't work when you look at the entry: (With acknowledgements to Ancestry and The National Archives).
    blind.JPG As usual more questions than answers! Why did he go blind? Why did he go to Nottingham from London? And... I have found my first 'Imbicile' in the family -his older sister.
  9. A. Muse

    A. Muse LostCousins Member

    Just taken a look to see what we can expect from the 1921 Census. I was disappointed to see that the 'Blind, deaf etc.' question was dropped. At least I now have names to look for!
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1

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