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1911 Census signature.

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1911 Census signature.

Postby PeteC25 » Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:17 am

I am fairly new to researching my family. I was under the impression that the head of the household, if present, was meant to sign the form. At 55 Ellerby Street, Fulham. The Gibbs family are mostly there, including the head who's occupation is a " Clerk so can write but it is signed by the eldest son! Is there a valid reason that this could occur?

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Re: 1911 Census signature.

Postby AdrianB38 » Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:54 pm

Hm. Good question. http://histpop.org/ohpr/servlet/PageBrowser?path=Browse/TNA%20Census%20-%20Other%20(by%20date)&active=yes&mno=3190&tocstate=expandnew&display=sections&display=tables&display=pagetitles&pageseq=2 contains an image of the reverse of the Householder's Schedule with, I presume, all the instructions that the "householder" ever got.

It starts by saying:
This Schedule must be filled up and signed by, or on behalf of, the Head of the Family ...

(My emphasis). So that doesn't even say that the Head must fill it in if they are there - just that if they don't, the job is still being done on their behalf, leaving them still with the overall responsibility, if not the pen in their hand.

I'd reckon that the vast majority must indeed have been filled in and signed by the Head of the Family, but there must have been reasons why some weren't. The most obvious to me was that the head was elsewhere when the form was filled in (usually that Sunday night?) but returned later (else they wouldn't have been enumerated there). They might have been at work, on a visit, at church - all instances preceded by: "You can fill the form in for me, can't you?" Or, of course, "I've got a splitting head / I'm full of cold..." As well as, "Hic, washup?" (Mentally insert icon for bottle of beer)

I had a look at mine - I've got some 70 odd 1911 forms - none are signed by anyone other than the Head (unless the head is elsewhere) but 2 or 3 look slightly odd in that the sig doesn't really look like the Head's name on the form - as if someone else filled it in and "Father" just signed it.

It's one of those things: "No matter what the rules are, if there's no way of enforcing them, all sorts of things will happen."
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Re: 1911 Census signature.

Postby PeteC25 » Thu Jun 13, 2019 3:01 pm

Yes that makes total sense! Wondered how it got past the enumerator. Thanks

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