View Full Version : Boatmen missing from Censuses

18-01-2010, 12:45 PM
Hello all
I expect this question may have been asked before, but I will ask it anyway!
Is it the case that People travelling on boats at the time of a census would not be included on the census?
I have 'lost' a couple of people from certain censuses, and try as I might with variations on names, leaving off the surname etc, have been unable to find them. This is true of the 1841 census and the 1851 and 1861 census. They have always turned up before and later, so I know they must have existed, so the only explanation I can think of is that they were travelling at the time and so avoided the census enumerator!
Any views on this?

18-01-2010, 8:40 PM
When you say travelling, do you mean as passengers or workers? If, as I think you mean, workers, it depends on what type of boats and where.

This thread (http://www.british-genealogy.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5729) may give you an idea. You can always give us some more details and we can have a look for you. ;)

19-01-2010, 1:04 PM
When you say travelling, do you mean as passengers or workers?
Yes, working on the boats.
This thread (http://www.british-genealogy.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5729) may give you an idea.
Thanks, I've read that, and it confirms that certainly 1841 and 1851, I'm unlikely to find them.
You can always give us some more details and we can have a look for you. ;)

For 1841, I am looking for Francis Piesley or Peesley, who was born in Lower Heyford Oxfordshire, on the Oxford Canal, about 1823. His mother is still in Lower Heyford in 1841, with her family, but no Francis. He would have been about 17 in 1841. I have him in 1851, married and living in the Midlands-occupation boatman, and all the years after that, but it would be nice to find him in 1841.

For 1851 and 1861, I am looking for Richard Piesley or Peesley, also from Lower Heyford, born about 1796. In 1841, he is an Ag Lab in Lower Heyford. In 1851, his wife and children are still in Lower Heyford, no Richard, and she is described as boatman's wife, I think (haven't got it to hand). In 1871, Richard is back in Lower Heyford, a widower living alone, described as 'boatman (unemployed) and he died later that year.

It would be interesting if I could find him in 1851 and 61, to see where he got to!

19-01-2010, 2:28 PM
Sorry, I cannot find them.
I did pass a Richard Peasley as a master of a boat on the Oxford Canal in Napton in 1961. He was unmarried and born about 1835 so maybe he was a relative. Charles Eadon was his 19 year old mate.

I suspect you have this but it does prove that some boatmen are enumerated. ;)

19-01-2010, 2:37 PM
In 1841 and 1851 there was no attempt to include crew of vessels on inland waterways in the census. You will sometimes see reference to numbers of wherries, barges or other vessels moored at a particular location. You might try running through the whole census for Heyford and see what, if anything, is recorded in the wharf.

In 1861 there was an attempt to include vessles on inland waterways and these were then appended to the end of the household returns for a parish. In my experience the amount of information recorded is variable; places where I'd expect to see vessels often have nothing recorded; or just numbers of vessels and sometimes crew. Some census enumerators seem to have worked a little harder at things and tried to complete the required information.

In 1871, a proper schedule was handed to the person in charge of a vessel and the census then seems more complete.

12-05-2013, 11:21 AM
Thanks for that enlightening reply, Geoffers. I had wondered why I was unable to turn up brothers George or Samuel Cooper or their parents John and Hannah, who were all very probably on board barges in the 1851 Census, no matter what I tried.

12-05-2013, 11:38 AM
Please be aware that this thread was started several years ago and at least one of the responders is no longer a member of the forum.

Taking a look at the date the thread was started is a useful thing to get into the habit of doing

12-05-2013, 1:27 PM
Thanks, Ladkyis. I was aware that the thread was an old one, but had assumed that Geoffers was still with us. Apologies if that's not the case.