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Census Returns

The Kilted Ancestors prompt for February 2023 in line with the Annual Genealogy Challenges & Triumphs topic was in relation to Census Returns.

Just like last month’s topic on Birth, Marriage & Death entries finding your Ancestors in Census Returns can also be challenging. This could be due to the Surname being noted down incorrectly or being misspelt, the record not existing, that the person is not where you expect them to be or that the age given is wrong.

Just like last months post remember that you may need to widen the search to locate the correct entry, but bear in mind that there is the possibility that it may not exist.

Locating our Ancestors in the Census can tell us a lot about how they are progressing through life. Just by looking at the additional information provided in some of these returns we can often ascertain, if more children have been born, if they are living in a larger house, if their occupations have changed or if they have moved to a more affluent area, remember though that the content of Census returns in other countries may vary so be sure to check all columns on the page.

Taking the Census - Image Public Domain (Wikicommons)

Don’t forget to look into anyone who is living with the family as these people could prove to be family members & may well hold the key to take your tree further back.

Census returns may also provide you with information that reveals more about a particular family.

In my own tree my relatives Robert Mather & Ann Brown were said to have met at Chapmans Public House in Glenboig, Lanarkshire. Robert was from Tillicoultry & having trained in Glasgow in the Spirit trade had gone to work at Chapmans where he met Ann who also worked there.

One interesting thing that turned up in the Census was that in 1891 Roberts Father Alexander who had previously worked in the Mills in Tillicoultry was staying as a visitor with Robert Chapman in Glenboig. From research I knew that Robert Chapman was not only a Spirit Merchant but also a Dog Breeder, interestingly this return also gives Alexanders occupation as a Dog Breeder. Asking the wider family, I discovered that some had heard that Alexander had been friends with Robert Chapman, so it may have been that Alexander secured his son Robert a job with Chapmans once he had completed his training in Glasgow.

Alexander Mather - Family Collection

A Newspaper Article in 1894 reveals that Alexander is also now working as a Spirit Merchant & has his own pub in Grangepans, Bo’ness, it is therefore possible that he too could have been training in the Spirit trade with Robert Chapman in 1891.


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