Family Tree Reports – How Census Returns Contribute to Family Tree Reports
Creating family tree reports relies somewhat on collecting and deciphering the data contained in census reports. These vital genealogical documents can tell us the names of every member of a household, their relationship to the head of the household, ages, occupations, where they lived and sometimes where they were born. As you can imagine, this information can greatly contribute to building family tree reports, especially when combined with details found in BDM certificates. Let’s take a closer look at exactly what can be found in census records and how that data can help with family tree reports.
Census Data That Can be Used in to Family Tree Reports
To give you an idea of the valuable data within census records that can be used in constructing family tree reports, we’ll look at the UK Census reports of 1851 – 1901. These records contain a wealth of information, giving exact birth details, and precise relationships of those living together. Though they were never intended to be genealogical tools, they serve as exactly that today and every genealogist uses them to complete family tree reports. Let’s look closely at what they can reveal.
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- Name and address of house. This included the name of a house if it had one, the name of the street it was on, and its number on the street.
- Name and surname of everyone who lived in the house. This can provide a wealth of data for family tree reports, even including middle names and nicknames if applicable.
- Relationship of residents to the head of the household. Details of how each person was related to the head of the household can reveal ancestors you might not have known existed, adding more branches to your family tree.
- Reports on the sex and marital status of the residence. This included information on whether a person was single or widowed as well as married.
- Ages. In census reports prior to 1851, ages were rounded down to the nearest number. Keep in mind though, that they may still not be accurate as many people during this period had no birth records and were unsure of their exact age.
- Rank, profession or occupation. This area of the census report would also include (after 1891) whether the person was an employer or was employed. Military status was also included, and even details about a person’s business. Valuable data for family tree reports.
- Where a person was born. Interviewees were required to provide exact details as to the location of their place of birth. With this data you can locate birth or baptism information to use in your family tree reports.
- Language spoken. Especially relevant if your ancestor was Welsh or Irish, it will reveal whether or not your ancestor spoke English, helping you to identify possible sources for your family tree reports that may be in a different language.
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Other Helpful Information Included in Census Returns
Crews of ships were also included in census returns, as were soldiers who resided in military barracks or naval bases. Census reports also included information on people who were at the time living in various institutions rather than a private household.
Beware that the privacy of individuals in some of these institutions was respected, and therefore sometimes only initials were used i.e. I.L Williams. This is still valuable data that can help with family tree reports, though it may require a bit of extra research in other ancestry records in order to confirm that the person was your ancestor.
Obviously census reports are a treasure trove of data that can help with filling in family tree reports. There are some available online, and recently the 1911 census for Ireland was placed online. Simply typing in the term "online census reports" will help you to locate the records for the year that may help you to complete your family tree reports.