Suffrage, in many facets

13 October 2013

Last night, I spotted an interesting tweet about a page in the 1911 census, making mention of the suffragette movement. And so, just before the witching hour, I delved into the subject in more detail, wondering how many times the words suffrage and suffragette appeared as an occupation in said census. The short answer is 42 and 47 respectively. Many of the entries themselves are fascinating, including the one transcribed only with the surname of CHRISTMAS on Ancestry. Quite how the surname of the person/people residing at 106 Peckham Road S E, Camberwell could be construed as Christmas, I am really not sure!

I began to wonder how many other eccentricities there were to be found in the same census, so I searched for birth place ‘believed’ and ‘believe’….11 and 10. ‘Idea’ as a birth place also crossed my mind and whilst there are 8 hits, only 5 are real with ‘no idea’ or ‘no idea cannot say’ featuring in the census schedules. The other three were mis-transcriptions of Idle, Yorkshire! Grateful though we are that (a) historically, we have a census in England (and many other countries) every 10 years and (b) it is digitised and available online for us all to search (well, OK so you have to have a subscription to one of the commercial sites to access it…), the quality of the information provided by our ancestors sometimes leaves a fair amount to be desired.

Believe it or not, the occupation of ‘nowt’ features twice and ‘nothing’, a staggering 4,462 times! ‘Not yet working’ also appears 31 times and ‘never’ returns 88 hits, all of which show ‘never worked’ or words to that effect.

It would appear that our predecessors fought the cause, did nothing and everything else in between!

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