When I’m researching I like to try and concentrate on one ancestor at a time. To help me quickly find which information I already have and which I still need to find, I use an individual ancestor worksheet I created in Open Office. Each sheet shows:
- The person’s relationship to me
- Birth and baptism details
- Marriage details
- Death and burial information
- Places they lived
- Occupations the held
- Details about their siblings and children
- A list of all the documents and sources I have found
- Any notes on the ancestor
I’ve added it here for download if anyone would like to use it. I created it in Open Office Writer, but I’ve also converted it to Word. Hopefully they download correctly formatted, there’s an image below showing what they should look like. If you have any problems leave a comment below.
A census has been taken every ten years in the United Kingdom since 1801, with the exception of 1941 (although a similar register was taken in 1939, shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War). In Ireland the census was taken by UK government until 1911, there was no census in Ireland in 1921 because of the Civil War, the first census taken by the Irish government was in 1926.
These records are released to the public a hundred years after they were taken and so we can currently view up to the 1911 census for the UK and Ireland (the 1939 Register is also available to search and view, but only covers England and Wales and only the records of those who are now deceased are viewable). The next full UK census released to the public will be the 1921 census, due for release on 1 January 2022 (though there is growing pressure for it to be released early in the same way the 1911 census and 1939 Register have been). The next Irish census released will be in January 2027
It should be remembered that census data was given verbally to an official in earlier censuses. Regional accents sometimes lead to the data being inaccurate (I struggled to find my 3 x great grandparents, John and Bridget McAndrew, on the 1871 census before finally finding them listed as McRandy). Also many of the people will have been illiterate and therefore unable to check what the official was writing down for their household. Finally of course, people have never liked sharing personal information with government officials and so may not always have been completely honest.
The 1939 Register is a snapshot of live in Great Britain and Northern Ireland at the beginning of World War II. It was taken on Friday, 29th September, under the National Registration Act of 1939, an Act of Parliament introduced as an emergency measure at the beginning of World War II. The Act also brought in identity cards which had to be carried at all times. It was repealed in 1952 after which it was no longer a requirement to carry identity cards in the UK.
The 1939 Register’s importance to genealogy research was increased when the 1931 Census was destroyed in a fire in 1940, and there having been no 1941 census.
You can search the 1939 Register at Find My Past, viewing records isn’t included in the monthly British subscription plan though, only in the annual one. If you have a monthly subscription, or no subscription, to the site you can either purchase 1939 Register records individually at £6.95 each or in multiples – £24.95 for five households or £54.95 for fifteen households. Whether this is value for money is a personal choice of course and I think depends on how much you need the information.
The register shows you:
- Address, including the house number
- Name – surname (including later amendments for surname changes) and forenames
- Date of birth – day, month and year
- Marital status
- Occasionally some further notes
Records for persons who could still be alive at the moment (generally under 100 years old) are blocked. You can request to have them unblocked by proving that that person is deceased. The first time I searched for my grandmother her sister-in-law’s entry was blocked, when I checked a few weeks later it was viewable so it’s always worth checking back.
Gilbert was known to everyone as Bert, apart from his wife who called him Gilly. He was born in Chadderton in 1911, the third child of John and Elizabeth McAndrew. In the 1930s he trained in agriculture and went on to work with heavy horses on farms, displaying horses at the Royal Lancashire Show, and as a driver of delivery carts.
Elizabeth was born in 1885 in the mill town of Bolton in Lancashire to master clogger, Edward Higginson and his wife Ann Entwistle. After leaving school, Elizabeth worked in cotton mills, first as a warehouse hand and then as a sewer, until her marriage to John McAndrew in 1907. She and John had five children (two sons and three daughters). John died in 1944. In around 1953 Elizabeth moved with her younger son and his family to the village of Warton near Preston in Lancashire. She died there in 1956 and was buried back in Bolton.
There are a great number of genealogy websites out there. Some cover everything worldwide from birth marriage and deaths through census data to passenger lists and newspaper archives. Others focus on one subject or one region, with some focusing on a single town. Many are free and some are either subscription or pay as you go.
Most of these sites are free to search and to view the transcripts of the information. Some require a subscription (or link to a subscription site) to view the original record.
Ellen was born in Moston near Manchester in 1850, the third child of Joseph Settle and Mary Anne Leggett. She moved with her parents and siblings to Bolton around 1861 and in 1875 she married Michael McAndrew at St Peter & St Paul’s Catholic Church in the town. The couple had three children before Michael died from tuberculosis aged only 46. Following Michael’s death, Ellen married Thomas Barnes in 1890, but sadly he died only a few months later. Ellen herself died in 1897 and was buried with her first husband at Tonge Cemetery in Bolton.
Bridget Carney was born in Ireland in early 19th century. She married John McAndrew in Sligo in 1836 and went on to have six children with him (all of whom lived into adulthood, quite an achievement given that five were born in rural Ireland around the time of the Great Famine, and the sixth born in a slum in Lancashire). In around 1850 she and her family left Ireland for England and settled in Bolton (first in Taylor Brow, the aforementioned slum, and latterly in the Daubhill area). Bridget died in 1880, aged around 59 and was buried at Bolton’s Tonge Cemetery.
John was born in Ahamlish, Sligo in 1817 to Thomas and Margaret McAndrew. It’s difficult to read his mother’s maiden name but it’s something along the lines of Wymes, Wyne or even Weiner. In 1836 he married Bridget Carney in Castleconnor, Sligo. The couple had six children, five born in Ireland and the youngest born in Bolton in Lancashire, to where the family moved in 1850 or 1851. Whilst I don’t know John’s occupation in Ireland, once in England, he worked as an agricultural labourer until his death in 1875.
Michael’s date of birth varies widely from census to census and is different again on his death certificate. However, there is a baptism record for him in Castleconnor, Sligo on 15 August 1838. He moved from Ireland to England with his parents and siblings in 1850 or 1851 and lived with them until his marriage to Ellen Settle in 1874. He and Ellen had three children before Michael sadly died at the age of only 48 from tuberculosis in 1886.