View Full Version : When were 1841 and 1851 Census Released?

15-04-09, 10:21
Were the 1841 and 1851 Census subject to the same 100 year rule as now? Would someone researching a family in say 1930's have had acess to either resource? Am trying to follow up the theory a family tale passed down might in fact be based on early, mistaken, research.

Merry Monty Montgomery
15-04-09, 10:42
That's a very good question which I don't know the answer to!

However, I had a cousin who was a registrar and was also a census enumerator and enumerators supervisor in 1891 through to 1921. He started his tree around 1885 (when he was 22) and never stopped researching, dying aged 93. He was certainly still actively researching in his late 80's. He also lived within a mile of his local record office between the wars (his ancestors were mostly local to the same place) and from his research I can see he must have visited the record office frequently. However, (I'm getting there!) there's nothing in his research to suggest he ever had access to any census records.

15-04-09, 11:17
No, they weren't. I can't remember the precise date, but I think it was in the 1920s. I think the Society of Genealogists were involved - either in getting them released or simply making sure that they weren't destroyed.

15-04-09, 11:22
There was a lot of early genealogical research done. It seems to have been largely London based. Up to the early 1970s, in London you would apparently have had access to the original enumerators' schedules. But you had to go through hoops to prove you were a suitable person. I think I had to get references from my college tutor and my doctor just to look at the census on microfilm.

15-04-09, 11:31
Hello Merry/Pheonix, thanks for that info.

This is in relation to my elusive 3 x great grandfather James Gordon. He gives various different places and dates of birth on the sources for him:

1851 (census) 1825 Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire
1855 (sons b.) 1823 Rosehearty, Aberdeenshire
1861 (census) 1824 Fyvie, Aberdeenshire
1871 (census) 1825 Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire
1881 (census) 1826 St Nicholas, Aberdeen
1891 (Census) 1830 Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire
1892 (Deat Cert) 1823 no birth info given

Now his great grandson, in America, had the info he was the son of John Gordon and Mary Ewen, of Turriff, baptised 1828. He got this tale from his mother b.1881, a grandaughter of James, who emigrated to the U.S.A in first decade of 20th century, but who was actually only 10 years old herself at the time her grandfather died. His own adult son left the parents box blank on the death cert, which makes me wonder if she really could have been given a first hand account of her grandads origin when even his own son wasn't? I'm wondering now if she had some genealogical work commisioned herself into her grandfather, at a time before census were available, using parish records alone.

The problem is this, the James Gordon b 1828, son of James Gordon and Mary Ewen, is actually at home with his parents on the 1851 census. Mine is in Drumblade working as a cooper (100% certain right man)! :

1851 Census: 10 Porthill, Aberdeen Greyfriars, Aberdeenshire

John Gordon, 59, head, Flaxdresser R A Pensioner, Turriff, Aberdeenshire
Mary Gordon, 50, wife, Turriff, Aberdeenshire
James Gordon, 22, son, Shipcarpenter (journeyman), Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire
Mary Ann Gordon, 21, dau, Cotton Reeler, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire
Margaret Gordon, 14, dau, Hair Loom Weaver, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire
Alexander Gordon, 12, son, Scholar, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire
Robert Gordon, 10, son, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire
Catherine Gordon, 6, dau, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire

1851 Census: Lint Mill, Drumblade Aberdeenshire

John Sutherland, Head, Mar, 71, Master Cooper, employing 1 man,
Margaret Sutherland, Wife, Mar, 72, Rothiemay
James Gordon, journeyman, Unm, 25, Journeyman Cooper, Aberdeen
Jessie Brown, servant, Unm, 20, General Servant, Keith Aberdeenshire

See the problem? I'm wondering whether she or her researcher didn't have acess to these. Any work she had done was likely before 1941.

I've just been posting on this over on Scottish talk forum and they have a likely for my James in 1841:

1841: 37 George Street, Aberdeen

GORDON Isabella F 50 Aberdeenshire
GORDON Margret F 20 Aberdeenshire
GORDON James M 17 Cooper Apprentice Aberdeenshire
ROSS Isabella F 1 Aberdeenshire
EWEN John M 1 Aberdeenshire
MATHEWS Elizabeth F 35 Aberdeenshire

My James was a Journey man Cooper in 1851, and Master cooper on all sources after. On all but one source his birth date is within range 1823-26. Further still, the young man above matches his age exactly on both his death cert and his sons 1855 baptism.

Intriguinly another Isabella Gordon, 3 years older, moves in a few doors down at 31 George Street some time between 1841- 1851. In 1841 she is in Old Machar. But, the children with her at Old Macher in 1841, are with the other Isabella above at 37 George Street on 1851! And Isaballa Ross who in 1841 is at 37, has swapped also and gone to live with the other Isabella at 31, described as her great grand child. They are therefore clearly related! Now intersting bit, the 1841 census for Old Machar shows the slightly older Isabella (Full name Isabella Catherine Gordon, nee Freeman) was born Pitsligo, a suberb of Rosehearty! 4 miles west of Fraserburgh. Rosehearty and Fraserburgh both being named by my James as birthplaces!

Am I on right track? Could the family lore actually be wrong....Been stuck on 3x great grandad for ages, would be great if finally getting somehwere.

Anyway thought I'd throw it open on here too for opinions etc! Thanks

15-04-09, 11:40
It is possible for the same person to appear in two different households on the same census, if the head of each household listed him, for instance if he normally lived with his parents but was away from home visiting another family on census night, but journeyman cooper and journeyman ship's carpenter don't seem similar enough for them to be the same person. Have you tried to trace the other James forward any further than 1851? Maybe you can find him on later censuses or find a death for him to prove he is a different person from yours?
I know there were a lot of Isabellas in Aberdeen because I've got one in my tree and she has a lot of other Isabellas related to her or working for her!

And have you tried looking on Scotland's People for wills etc of relatives to see if they help?

It is certainly possible that James's granddaughter did some family tree research or had some done and went wrong somewhere!

15-04-09, 11:45
Hi yes Kite, have tried to find a marriage or death for the James, son of John and Mary Ewen without any sucess unfortunately. Neither can I find him on any other census, including the previous one in 1841 frustratingly. Likewise wills havn't found any, been knocking head on brick wall on this for years now, this is the first potential bit of progress in ages. Only route I havn't gone down that still might offer some hope is apprenticeship records, largely because I'm ignorant of where to begin with these in Scotland, or if they even exist.