* Census Place, how do you decide what is right

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David Potter
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Census Place, how do you decide what is right

Post by David Potter » 23 May 2020 12:23

Hi Forum
I was wondering how others code the Place details recorded on UK Census Records? If it's obvious and clear where it is then no real problem. But in a lot of cases I'm finding it difficult to read many Census record images to accurately define the Place where the Census was recorded. Particularly Places in Welsh Counties.
I'm also finding that the transcribed Place for the Census when checked against FMP and Ancestry is if lucky phonetically correct but spelt wrongly and often differs across each of those research platforms. Another issue is where Census enumerators didn't bother to fill in the appropriate fields such as Parish, Tything, Town, Village or Hamlet and quite often only provided the Parish name.
I have been mostly using old maps for the Census period concerned to try to figure where the Place is and then string together a sensible definition of where the record was taken. EG, Census 1851 Ceiswyn, Nr Talyllyn, Merionethshire, Wales (Cwmcelli Farm) Catherine Jones. But this can be extremely time consuming and in some respects could be said to be embellishing the Source info provided.

Thoughts, Best Practice, Opinions welcome.

Many Thanks

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tatewise
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Re: Census Place, how do you decide what is right

Post by tatewise » 23 May 2020 12:41

David, I record the Census reference and capture whatever is provided by the enumerator in the Source record.
e.g.
Publication Information: HO107 2386 144 15 61 ref for 1851 Piece Folio Page Shedule
Text From Source:
District: Auckland
Sub-district: Hamsterley
Enum.District: ?
Eccl.District: St.Andrews Auckland
Parish: Lynesack & Softley
City/Borough: ?
Address: Copley Lane, Lynesack & Softley
County: Durham

and then the grid of people...

The reference number can be looked up to determine the registration District, Sub-district & County.

The Census Event records the registration District, County, Country in the Place field.
The Address field holds the address with whatever other village, town, county can be discovered.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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David Potter
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Re: Census Place, how do you decide what is right

Post by David Potter » 23 May 2020 12:50

Thank you Mike

I'm pretty much following what you do, and record the Census Reference in the Publication Information field. You mentioned you can use this reference to 'look up' the details for District, County etc. Where would you recommend to look up? I use FMP, Ancestry, and others but as I mentioned they are not always correct in terms of Place details.

I'm thinking now that the Repository is The National Archives - can a look up using the Census Reference be made there to obtain the Place info?

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Re: Census Place, how do you decide what is right

Post by tatewise » 23 May 2020 13:54

Yes, see https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/hel ... s-records/ that has lots of useful details and in section 4.2 How to search the censuses there is a link to Online versions for the street indexes for 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871 and 1891 at https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov ... ts_Project where under Browsing there are links for 1841 to 1891 and if you work down they give places versus reference numbers.

Another useful resource is https://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/civreg/ which links to https://www.ukbmd.org.uk/reg/ that lists GRO Registration Districts with Sub-Districts, Parishes, etc, and how they have been reorganised over the decades together with the GRO Index ref Volume.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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Re: Census Place, how do you decide what is right

Post by ColeValleyGirl » 23 May 2020 14:00

Useful Welsh place name resources which can help decipher census and other docs (but not infallibly):

Welsh tithe maps (so circa 130-1840):

Welsh Historic Placenames

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Re: Census Place, how do you decide what is right

Post by LornaCraig » 23 May 2020 14:05

Another issue is where Census enumerators didn't bother to fill in the appropriate fields such as Parish, Tything, Town, Village or Hamlet
Sometimes the enumerators didn't bother to fill in all these fields if they were the same as on the previous page(s). If you have a subscription to FMP or Ancestry you can scroll back through previous images without any cost. You can also scroll forward to later images to see what has been recorded next. I find this sometimes provides the missing details.
Lorna

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Re: Census Place, how do you decide what is right

Post by tatewise » 23 May 2020 14:09

Yes, as it says in the TNA guide "The first page of each enumeration book contains a description of the area covered."
So scroll back online to the first page and see what it says.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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Re: Census Place, how do you decide what is right

Post by Gowermick » 23 May 2020 14:45

David,
I stick to the KISS principle, and keep it as simple as possible.

1. As a lumper, I treat the whole census sheet as the source, ignoring the schedule number, so that the same source can be used for anyone on the same page!
Taking miketates example, for the source, I would use Census 1851-HO107 Piece 2386 Folio 144 Page 15
NB the image would be saved as 1851 2386 F144 P15.jpg

2 From the sheet I would find the Town/Village, as it would appear today, (needed for geocoding) despite what enumerator or Ancestry or Findmypast thinks. Again from Miketate’s example, I would select Lynesack or Softley as appropriate (not both), followed by Durham, England e.g. Lynesack, Durham, England

3. Finally I would add the full street address, as it appears on image, NOT what has been transcribed, which often misses out/ignores the House number.
NB if a house number exists, I add it after the street, to aid predictive text entry e.g. Copley Lane, 34

As an aside, I append the registration district or districts to the place name, as an aid to finding Births Marriages and Deaths from GRO, so the above place would actually be stored in FH as Lynesack, Durham, England “Durham RD”

Purists will scream I’m missing out Parish, District, sub District etc, but I figured if anyone wanted that info, they could look at the sheet. I don’t see point of duplicating this type of infomation, but that is just my personal opinion.
Mike Loney

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Website http://www.loney.tribalpages.com
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David Potter
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Re: Census Place, how do you decide what is right

Post by David Potter » 23 May 2020 14:58

Wow thank you very much everyone for your contributions to this question. Plenty to look at and consider now.

:)

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tatewise
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Re: Census Place, how do you decide what is right

Post by tatewise » 23 May 2020 15:48

Comments on David's points:-

1. Lumping everyone on one sheet together has two scenarios where care needs to be taken:
  • Where a single household schedule spans the end of one sheet and the start of another, or even several sheets.
  • To discover members of one household linked to a sheet (or multiple sheets) needs consistent Citations and probably a Query.
By focussing Source records on a single household schedule, even across multiple sheets, those scenarios are avoided.

2. It is possible to record the Place as it appeared in the Census and make it geocode satisfactorily by using the Place record Standardized field, which is its main purpose.

3. Recording street then the number does have merits, but don't confuse schedule number with house number!
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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David Potter
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Re: Census Place, how do you decide what is right

Post by David Potter » 23 May 2020 17:48

Thanks Mike - Points 2 & 3 duly noted.

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Re: Census Place, how do you decide what is right

Post by David Potter » 23 May 2020 20:05

One more thing. I was aware about scrolling backwards and forward to see what might have been missed. But I had no idea that page 1 gave the detail for the area and places recorded. That was a very welcome discovery. Also the links provided are excellent.

Thanks once again everyone.

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