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  1. #1
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    Default 1911 Census and handwriting of ancestors

    My wife thinks I'm 'nuts' and many of you may think the same as she!!!

    From what I've been given to understand, the 'head of house' completed the census in his/her own hand,

    If this be true, the 'boy wonder' has another collection coming up - all the ancestors as heads in 1911 - with handwriting samples. It sure beats collecting marbles and my sub. to FMP allows me to view and print!!!

    I've already printed of my wife's grand and Gt.-Grand dad's, but before I go 'hog-wild' am I 'barking up the wrong tree'?

    Cheers

    Colin

  2. #2
    MarkJ
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    Yes, the 1911 census was completed mainly by the head of the household. The person who completed the census signs it - so you can check if it was indeed the "head" or another rellie (or, as in the case of one of my illiterate ancestors, a neighbour).

    Like you Colin, I found the 1911 census really interesting. It is great to see your ancestors actual writing!

    Mark

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    Colin, it's your tree, you bark all you want. A fascinating collectors hobby & just think if you have access to old photographs or albums with writing on them, you may get to match some up!
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    Wendy
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  4. #4
    Geoffers
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Rowledge
    From what I've been given to understand, the 'head of house' completed the census in his/her own hand
    There are always exceptions, have a look at RG14 PN23500 SN216 (reference to census held by TNA). In this case the census has been completed by a daughter and acknowledgement made of it (the head of the household is known to have been illiterate). I just wonder if there are examples of other members of the family completing the census with that fact not being declared.

  5. #5
    -tmm-
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    I'm fairly certain that one of my families had one of the children complete the census, but was signed by the head. I think my Great Grandfather filled it out (he was 18 at the time) but was signed by his father. The main census form is pretty neat and tidy - but the signature box is quite messy. I don't have any proof, but it's just my hunch.

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    Name well known on Brit-Gen janbooth's Avatar
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    I've got another scenario. I could not find my great grandmother on the 1911 although I knew she was still alive. In looking for my grandmother, who was not with her husband on that night, I found her with one of her children and the census had been signed by my great grandmother although she had not entered herself as the head of household and given her own details. All's well that ends well!!

    Janet
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    The 1911 return for one related family was signed, presumably by the household head, but was filled in by someone else. Whoever this person was has proved to extremely helpful as he/she also entered names of 6 children no longer living at home, complete with their marital status and how long married, number of children etc where applicable.

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    I had an ancestor who signed his marriage certificate with his mark suggesting that he was illiterate, but apparently had no difficulty later completing his 1911 census form as head of the household. The information and signature on the census form were clearly by the same person i.e. completed and signed by the same hand.
    "People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors. Edmund Burke

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    Quote Originally Posted by tony vines View Post
    I had an ancestor who signed his marriage certificate with his mark suggesting that he was illiterate, but apparently had no difficulty later completing his 1911 census form as head of the household.
    How many years seperated the marriage and 1911?

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    I'm sorry Colin, I can't remember the details and it would take me some considerable effort to find them given the number of possibilities in my family. I just recall comparing the marriage certificate with the 1911 image and wondering about the puzzle of the cross and the signature. It has been suggested before on this forum that for some reason people were sometimes wary of letting "authority" know that they were literate and of course that term might include the clergy. However my view is that in this case the entry was completed and signed for the head of the household by the enumerator or at any rate someone other the actual head. So the signature would have been a forgery, albeit for very good reasons.
    "People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors. Edmund Burke

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