Completing the census form last night (I know that’s early – naughty, naughty) left me slightly disappointed with what was asked, having spent some months now looking at census documents from 1841-1911. For example, in all the censuses of the 19th century, the middle names of all the people in the household were often recorded. This can be extremely helpful to the genealogist searching for, for example, John Kingsford Inge (Inge is a surprisingly common name in Kent and Surrey). Nor was the specific place of birth recorded – again, a very useful way of checking that you have the right person. Even if the subject of your enquiry had moved halfway across the country between 1851 and 1861, you could be fairly sure ’twas he or she from the place of birth, e.g. Ickham, Kent. Now all you are required to supply is ‘England’. Good luck to our great-grandchildren when they try to track us down in a century’s time.
Thanks to cautious (ha!) use of the hints option on Ancestry, the family tree has now grown to over 2000 people. Dan regularly tells me off for researching people who are only related to me by marriage, but, if youhave ever done any research into your family tree, you’ll concur that it can become an obsession until the tree has so many twigs you can’t remember how some of them grew.
Thanks to this obsession, however, I discovered a fascinating lady called Norah Newbury Inge (my third cousin, five-times removed), the daughter of a school headmaster from Wimbledon. Born in 1900, Norah comes into view for the first time after the 1911 census in 1936, when she returned to Britain from on the P&O ship ‘Strathnaver’. She had been working as a school teacher in Colombo, Sri Lanka (then called Ceylon).