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Census entry if away from home

Posted: 02 Nov 2019 21:54
by wigansaint
Wondering how members handle entering of people who are not at home on census night.

I have a relative (a grandfather when he was a young child) who is a visitor to a family who are no relation to him. Rest of family are at home address. Would I enter this as though the relative was at home and put note as to his residence at the time?

Also how would I enter the above child if he was with relatives? (e.g. with his grandparents)

Re: Census entry if away from home

Posted: 03 Nov 2019 00:36
by tatewise
I always enter Census event Place/Address exactly as shown by the Census record.
The point being that you don't know how long a person remained at that Place/Address.
Without any other evidence they could have been there nearly 20 years from previous Census to next Census.
It makes no difference who they were residing with or their age.
You may think the family is unrelated to the child, but it may turn out later that there is some relationship, otherwise why is he residing there?

Re: Census entry if away from home

Posted: 03 Nov 2019 01:32
by BillH
I agree with Mike. I also enter the census for the individual exactly as it shows on the census form.

If I feel that I need to, I enter a note on the individual's census record pointing to the information for the census record of the family of that person.

Sometimes I also add a note to the census record of the family pointing to the individual's census record.

This way I know where the individual was when the census was taken and also where the family was.

Bill

Re: Census entry if away from home

Posted: 03 Nov 2019 10:53
by davidf
tatewise wrote:
03 Nov 2019 00:36
...
You may think the family is unrelated to the child, but it may turn out later that there is some relationship, otherwise why is he residing there?
It is often worth recording details of the household where "strays" are found at a census. My GGF was a stray in an 1800's census, but it made sense because he was listed (for the first time) as an apprentice draper (and the head of household was a draper). A Couple of censuses later and I found my GGF with my GGM - and strangely she had the same Christian Name, implied YoB and place of birth as the daughter of that Draper he was staying with 20 years before!
BillH wrote:
03 Nov 2019 01:32
Sometimes I also add a note to the census record of the family pointing to the individual's census record.
This is worth doing because the other issue of course is that the "stray" has been miss-identified and is actually completely unrelated. A note on the family's census fact (possibly as a witness "stray") recording where you think the missing member was helps to point you to the erroneous entry should you subsequently discover the "stray" elsewhere.

[Does this thread belong under "Ancestral Sources" or might it belong in more general discussion?]

Re: Census entry if away from home

Posted: 03 Nov 2019 11:11
by tatewise
You are correct David, so I have moved this thread to the FH General Usage Forum.
With such 'strays' it is an interesting challenge to discover why they are a 'visitor' away from home as illustrated by David.

Re: Census entry if away from home

Posted: 03 Nov 2019 11:22
by ColeValleyGirl
My most productive stray was an 11-year old boy in the 1841 census who was residing as a 'separate household' all on his own in a public house with three apparently unrelated individuals with a completely different surname, one of whom was another 11 year old boy. I noted him over 10 years ago as a candidate for one of my elusive ancestors but there wasn't any other evidence to confirm it or otherwise.

This year I returned to the puzzle and did a quick and dirty family tree for the couple he was living with (using PRs, and some very helpful newspaper reports of various deaths and marriages). Turned out the woman Dorothy was his grandmother; his mother was her daughter by her first husband, and had died a very young widow at the same address as the 1841 census entry. By 1841 Dorothy was on her fourth husband and had a son the same age as her grandson.

Moral of the story: always look for family links when you find a census stray.

Re: Census entry if away from home

Posted: 04 Nov 2019 08:42
by gwilym'smum
Hi
As Mike said it is interesting to think why someone is living in an unexpected place. I had recorded a long time ago one of my husband's family in 1911 and not given a thought to why the wife's sister was living with them, until last week I was preparing a talk and was going to use this entry just as an example of a 1911 census. I suddenly realized that my husband's mother was born a few days after the census date and they had a one year old so in all probability the sister was living with them for a short time to help with the youngster and then the new baby when it arrived. Families did help each other more and stayed with each other for a few days.
Again one of my 2x gt aunts was living with a family (after her father disappeared) and was recorded as grand daughter. I still have to find what the relationship with that family is. (I know that relationships had different designations in some circumstances.) It was the area that the family had lived in and they were perhaps just very friendly as when we were young we called our parent's friends "aunt" or "uncle" out of respect.
It is important that the census is recorded as it is otherwise we are tampering with history. (You wouldn't say to the police when asked for an alibi, saying well I usually live in this place, you would have to say exactly where you were)
By all means add notes but record what the record says
Ann

Re: Census entry if away from home

Posted: 04 Nov 2019 11:16
by Wilfreda99
Another instance of this is people designated as 'servants'. I have found several cases where the servant has the same surname as the wife's maiden name and later turns out to be her sister. Her relationship to the head of the household (the husband) is really sister in law so it must be significant of something that he doesn't record it as such. Perhaps it is because her occupation is usually 'general servant' and he doesn't want to be seen to be related to a servant?

Re: Census entry if away from home

Posted: 04 Nov 2019 12:34
by davidf
The other thing to remember is that there is an assumption behind, "away from home".

Do we actually know he/she was "away from home" and that they were not actually "at home" for some reason - fostered or informally adopted out, major family breakdown, child actually living with their genetic father?

The Census fact is simply a record of where someone was on a particular night together with all sorts of other information. The Residence fact should be for where someone (normally) resides - implying their "home"; but we might unwittingly miss-use it. How many of us have taken an address off a BMD certificate and entered it as "Residence" without actually pondering - was that their place of normal residence? An expectant mother may have returned to her mother's home to give birth, an ill relative may have been taken in by a relative in the final days of their life.

In fact I am tempted to ask, "what is good evidence of actual 'residence'"?

As an aside, I recall that my late mother (who was adopted) was visiting her birth mother on census week-end and they had to cut the visit short to save her mother from having to lie on the census return as to her relationship with her "visitor" - the relationship though close was not acknowledged. This raises the possibility that telling porkies to the census enumerator may be more common than we think.

Re: Census entry if away from home

Posted: 04 Nov 2019 12:51
by tatewise
FYI:
GEDCOM Standard 5.5 definition says:
RESI {RESIDENCE}:= The act of dwelling at an address for a period of time.
GEDCOM Draft 5.5.1 definition says:
RESI {RESIDENCE}:= An address or place of residence that a family or individual resided.
So it is down to interpretation as to how long establishes their place of normal residence.

Re: Census entry if away from home

Posted: 04 Nov 2019 12:56
by gwilym'smum
Wilfreda
Hi it can depend if the householder was literate. If not, the enumerator would be asking the question and it all depended on how how he asked. He might not have asked if the servant was a relative or phrased it in that way. Even if the householder filled in the form it would be a matter of how he interpreted the form. Not necessarily wanting to distance themselves from the relative who was a servant. How many times have you found boarders or lodgers who turned out to be relatives?
Ann

Re: Census entry if away from home

Posted: 04 Nov 2019 13:32
by davidf
tatewise wrote:
04 Nov 2019 12:51
FYI:
GEDCOM Standard 5.5 definition says:
RESI {RESIDENCE}:= The act of dwelling at an address for a period of time.
GEDCOM Draft 5.5.1 definition says:
RESI {RESIDENCE}:= An address or place of residence that a family or individual resided.
So it is down to interpretation as to how long establishes their place of normal residence.
We really need to know how the drafters made the decision to "adjust" the definition!

Depending on your dictionary I guess you get different insights
Dictionary.com wrote:Dwell: verb (used without object), dwelt or dwelled, dwell·ing.
to live or stay as a permanent resident; reside.
Reside: verb (used without object), re·sid·ed, re·sid·ing.
to dwell permanently or for a considerable time:
My italics; I'm not sure I see a difference!

Re: Census entry if away from home

Posted: 04 Nov 2019 13:55
by tatewise
There appear to be as many definitions of dwell and reside that don't use permanent as those that do.
However, like other standard Facts such as Occupation and Census, is it better to stretch the meaning a little or create a Custom Fact for every nuance?

Re: Census entry if away from home

Posted: 04 Nov 2019 15:49
by davidf
I think I am "stretching" towards thinking:

Residence is an habitual "fact" -
I am a UK resident,
I could call my home "my residence", (a bit "grand" for a modest dwelling)
Death notices often say "he died 'at his residence'"

This is a key bit of information for family historians and distinct from any place that an individual may have visited. If I stayed overnight with a relative it would be misleading to say I "resided" there; if I was hospitalised for 3 months, I think it is misleading to say I "resided" there - particularly if I maintained a home elsewhere. The taxman would maintain that I resided at my home.

Many addresses that we pick up off certificates etc. could be not much more than overnight stays and whilst I would not advocate a "custom fact for every nuance", I do wonder whether "residence" should be reserved for instances where we know that an address or place was the individual's habitual home for a period of time. Everything else is an (incidental) address associated with the context of a specific fact and a point in time rather than a known period of time.

In FH many facts permit the inclusion of a place or an address so this is not really an issue - as long as we are conscious that this is not necessarily conclusive evidence of residence. Other facts (e.g. marriage) use the place or address for where the event took place and not the place/address where the participants either resided or were staying at the time of the event.

To establish an (habitual) residence is not easy; repeated appearances of an address is certainly indicative. House deeds and electoral rolls might give good evidence - as would (secondary) (auto)biographical sources.

Re: Census entry if away from home

Posted: 04 Nov 2019 20:19
by wigansaint
BillH wrote:
03 Nov 2019 01:32
I agree with Mike. I also enter the census for the individual exactly as it shows on the census form.

If I feel that I need to, I enter a note on the individual's census record pointing to the information for the census record of the family of that person.

Sometimes I also add a note to the census record of the family pointing to the individual's census record.

This way I know where the individual was when the census was taken and also where the family was.

Bill
I appreciate the point of recording the information as you say. But as an example, if a child is staying with his grandparents at one address and his parents at another if you record the information as you suggest the child would not be linked to his parents would they?

Re: Census entry if away from home

Posted: 04 Nov 2019 21:29
by BillH
That is correct. For that particular census the child was not with the parents so would not be connected to the parents by the census record. They would still be connected via whatever other facts you might have such as birth or baptism records, etc. The census is only a record of who was at a given address on the day the census was enumerated for that address.

Bill

Re: Census entry if away from home

Posted: 04 Nov 2019 22:57
by tatewise
Another angle, is when does a child become an adult and not living with their parents.
Often when a child was apprenticed they would leave home, and from then on that person will not appear in a Census record with their parents. In earlier centuries, this happened at quite a young age.
It is also quite common for husband and wife to appear at different addresses for a particular Census year, where the husband is a seaman, or in the forces, etc.

The relationships between husband, wife, and children are recorded in the Family record and cited mainly by Birth, Baptism, and Marriage records, and only sometimes in Census records when living together. If a child is away from home there is usually no evidence in a Census record of their parental relationship, because they will be recorded as Visitor or suchlike. That is why it is so important to investigate such cases to be sure the child is who you think they are.

Re: Census entry if away from home

Posted: 04 Nov 2019 23:45
by AnneEast
I have quite a number of instances of children or young people recorded both with their parents AND somewhere else eg, grandparent, aunt, cousin or as a servant.
I also have a wonderful 1911 census where all the numerous children are recorded at the parents home even though some of the have already died or are married and elsewhere.
I just leave notes about it!
Anne

Re: Census entry if away from home

Posted: 05 Nov 2019 00:04
by tatewise
I have a case in the 1911 Census where a mother claims one daughter has died. Whereas she turns up alive and well, and giving birth in another city in 1917. I have incontrovertible evidence that they are the same person, as that daughter cites her mother as next of kin in the maternity documents. Maybe she was a black sheep of the family, or perhaps a suffragette protesting against the Census ~ I have yet to discover any evidence.

Re: Census entry if away from home

Posted: 05 Nov 2019 01:48
by davidf
wigansaint wrote:
04 Nov 2019 20:19
I appreciate the point of recording the information as you say. But as an example, if a child is staying with his grandparents at one address and his parents at another if you record the information as you suggest the child would not be linked to his parents would they?
Do we need to check that the OP is not using the Census (family) fact? Would that make a difference? (it's not a fact that I use having got the impression that it is deprecated).

Re: Census entry if away from home

Posted: 05 Nov 2019 15:18
by Wilfreda99
Ann,
'Hi it can depend if the householder was literate. If not, the enumerator would be asking the question and it all depended on how he asked. He might not have asked if the servant was a relative or phrased it in that way. Even if the householder filled in the form it would be a matter of how he interpreted the form. Not necessarily wanting to distance themselves from the relative who was a servant. How many times have you found boarders or lodgers who turned out to be relatives?'

That's true, hadn't thought of it. Guess I am just too cynical. Re your last question, I can't remember, I am just picking up family history again after a gap of 6 or more months.
Cheers,
Chris

Re: Census entry if away from home

Posted: 05 Nov 2019 16:42
by mjashby
@wigansaint,

Sorry but I don't follow the statement:
I appreciate the point of recording the information as you say. But as an example, if a child is staying with his grandparents at one address and his parents at another if you record the information as you suggest the child would not be linked to his parents would they?
Where someone, irrespective of who they are/were, was on a single Census census night does not alter their identity/parentage in any way, so I don't understand why you say "the child would not be linked to his parents". Whatever other evidence you have of that relationship isn't changed in any way by recording a Census fact, as that simply records where that person was on that particular night. What about all the children who were away from their 'usual' home, e.g. schooling, hospital, apprenticeship etc.

A standard rule of genealogy (family history) that you record what was stated exactly as it was stated. Anything else not explicitly recorded is an interpretation (assumption/presumption) based on what else might be known about family structure; but can't be relied upon without additional corroborative evidence, i.e. Is there any evidence that that 'grandchild' was the same child that was 'missing' from the possible/probable parents address, or could that be just a convenient interpretation of the recorded information (a leap of faith)?