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Not for Local Historians?

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Not for Local Historians?

Postby Daniel Cossins » Fri Jan 23, 2009 12:36 am

This week Alan explores the 1911 census, which is now available to search online.

He welcomes the new resource but questions how useful it will be for local historians.

What do you think of the 1911 census project?

Will you be using it for anything other than family history research?

What features would you like to see added to the 1911 census website?

Click [link=]here[/link] to read the blog and have your say below
Daniel Cossins
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RE: Not for Local Historians?

Postby veelo » Mon Jan 26, 2009 6:06 am

Must say I agree that it is geared up for people researching their tree only. Will the search criteria change when it stops being a voucher sysem (I believe I read that possibly later this year, it may become part of a subscription service on findmypast). I have looked up my fathers relations now, but draw a complete blank on my Mother's side although I know all the names I am looking for, I assume there is a mistranscription somewhere along the line. I had the same problem with the 1901 census, I only managed to find everyone once I could search Ancestry using search criteria other than surname.
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RE: Not for Local Historians?

Postby davedobbin » Tue Jan 27, 2009 4:50 pm

I suspect that Alan hasn't read all the background to the release of the 1911 census, including the Service's blog. One of the aspects of releasing the 1901 census was the fact that everything was provided from the start and so many people started using resource-hungry searches that the servers crashed.

Find My Past learnt the lesson from that debacle and took several steps to prevent this happening. For example, if the number of connections reached a level where there was a real danger of the service crashing then any further connections were redirected to a standard message asking the user to try again later. This isn't absolutely satisfactory for the individual concerned, but it does mean that several [i]thousand[/i] other people can continue working.

FMP also took the decision to keep some of the functionality back until the initial rush died down. This meant that in the early days you needed to know the correct spelling of the name, or an address, as wildcard searches use large amounts of processing power to achieve. If too many people tried wildcard searches, again, the servers would be in danger of crashing and several thousand people at a time would have not just a reduced service, but no service at all for a while.

The features Alan would like are, I understand, in hand and one or two have already been drip-fed into the live service already.
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RE: Not for Local Historians?

Postby Guy » Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:20 am

I assume he is simply referring to the online version.
The local historian would be advised to take a trip to Kew where the free facilities allow greater access to the records.
Later this year when it is part of the subscription service local historians will be able to affordably re-construct areas.
The launch was aimed at family historians and the individual schedules lend themselves perfectly to this end.
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RE: Not for Local Historians?

Postby Mungojerrie » Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:13 am

I'm sorry, but I simply cannot agree with some of Alan's remarks. For instance, his shock at knowing some of those on the 1911 - well, I remember my great-grandmother from my childhood and she was also on the 1891 and 1901 Censuses, so maybe they shouldn't have been released, too? It is simply a fact of getting older, unfortunately - of course I will remember some of those on the later Censuses, while someone who is 30 years younger than me won't, anymore than I will have known someone on the earlier ones!

I also disagree that the 1911 was designed exclusively for family historians - in fact, none of them were designed for either family or local historians, but purely for statistical and Governmental purposes! It is simply serendipitous (and fortunate) that they happen to be both a great help and an invaluable resource to those of us with inquiring minds about either our local or family history, or indeed both.
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RE: Not for Local Historians?

Postby ksouthall » Wed Feb 04, 2009 11:26 pm

I hadn't thought about this before, however agree with Mungojerrie's point about people being able to remember ancestors who appeared on the 1891 and 1901 Censuses.
I am only (?) 42 and remember my great-aunt who was born in 1888, so appeared in both the 1891 and 1901 Censuses, as well as the 1911 Census. As my granddad was nearly 46 when my dad was born, he also appeared in the 1901 Census and I vaguely remember him from my early childhood, along with other great-aunts and great-uncles also alive in 1901.
One of my great-aunts remembered her great-grandfather who was born in 1814 and died in 1904. It seems weird to me that I can tell my children that he called my great-aunt "his little soldier" when he was born nearly 200 hundred years ago and died 105 years ago. It amazes me that such big time gaps can be bridged by overlaps between family members.
My mum can remember her grandparents who appeared in the 1881 Censuses onwards. If we took the view that the censuses should not be released if people could remember people who were on them, we would probably only have access to those pre-1871.

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Re: Not for Local Historians?

Postby thoscurrell » Tue Jun 15, 2010 8:31 pm

Surely Alan has his tongue firmly in his cherubic cheek if he suggests that the 1911 census is of little use to local historians.

I am webmaster of a local history village site and posted a transcription of the 1911 census as soon as it was released. The village was in transition and a number of tradesmen were in lodgings there.

What we have is an amazing historical snapshot with the 1911 census and the 1910 Inland Revenue Domesday Survey.
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