A few sandwiches short of a picnic

29 March 2014

Long term readers of the Family Wise blog will realise our appreciation for the weird and wonderful names (and transcription of names) in the global historical record. Beginning the quest today by quite literally searching for ‘sandwich‘ and ‘picnic‘ in the 1911 census for England, we were disappointed. Of course, Sandwich appears all too frequently as a place name so, although sandwich makers and such like may have been hidden within, we were not game enough to search through the 13,244 hits for hidden gems. However, the 1911 census for Wales had just 16 entries and once ‘Sandwich, Kent’ and ‘Sandwich Islands’ were removed, just John Ross remained – a sandwich man, aged 63 and born in Ayr, Scotland, living at ‘Model Homes’, a registered lodging house in Cardiff. He must have been very busy bearing in mind he was the only sandwich man serving the whole of Wales!

Evidence of picnic baskets was found in England in the form of Arthur William Main of 254 Shrewsbury Road, East Ham, aged 18, son of James Vincent and Alice Rebecca Main…. a picnic basket fitter. Well, he is now we’ve corrected the transcription error from picnic market fitter!

I am sorry to confess that at this point, the plot was totally lost in the office here and it is true to say that the team are definitely several sandwiches short of the proverbial picnic. How we located the surname Willybiro is simply beyond me, but it has certainly caused much hilarity! And the records are very recent too – Emile A D Willybiro married Olesya Gontar in Reading in November 2005, as well as a child born a few years earlier (in 2001) called Brian Junior O. Willybiro. Crazy!

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