2021 Census

2021 is the year that the latest British census will be completed. This article will explain just what the census is and it’s importance to the country, and encourage the younger generation to get involved and understand it.

Old postcard of Bishopsteignton
Old postcard of Bishopsteignton

It’s not just about you – it’s about all of us.

Do you know what the Census is?

Some people know about the Census with regards to their ancestry and their family past. Fun though this is, the main purpose of the Census is about measuring the present so that we can plan the future for the Country as a whole.

If someone asked you how many people lived in Bishopsteignton, what age they were, their gender or type of ‘household’ or occupation you probably could only have a wild guess which wouldn’t be much use if you were trying to work out how many school places we would need in five years time or what the need for a young person’s work opportunities would be.

Imagine now trying to guess the population the United  Kingdom (it’s about 6.65 million) and all its complexity. It would be an impossible task especially as people are constantly changing. For instance, they change jobs, move homes and make decisions like what sort of job they want or when or if to have children.

One way to know what’s going on is to hold a Census. This is a count of every person in the country and their defining characteristics. It is essentially a freeze frame of the population at a specific time (This year it’s the night of 21st March). Censuses are held every ten years (since 1801 in the UK) and this period gives us sufficient time to analyse the data and make policy decisions before the population has changed yet again to require  the next census in ten years’ time.

The census always measures people’s core demographic profile (e.g. age, sex, marital status). It also asks extra questions about issues that are of interest to policy makers at the time. For example, in 2011 there was a question on volunteering while this year one of the questions is about armed services veterans.

Censuses are totally confidential and are an early example of data protection and this is why the records we see for family research are only released after a hundred years, when it is assumed nearly everyone mentioned on it would have died. However the collective data for local areas is available immediately from ONS (https://www.ons.gov.uk/) and so you can compare this year’s results with those of 2011 and before. What changes can you see have occurred in Bishopsteignton over the years?

Quiz

Take a look at the 2021 Census form and see if you can answer these questions. Write your answers in and they will be collected anonymously.

Have you ever seen one of the very old census forms that we have on the website?

Take a look and see if there are any words you don’t understand.

These pages show census entries for members of the Coombe family in different years.

1901-Bishopsteignton-Census

1891-Bishopsteignton-Census

1881-Bishopsteignton-Census

1911-census-transcription

1939-census-transcription

Create your own census

Perhaps you would like to do your own mini census on your own family, for instance:

Who lives in your house?

What is your Grandma’s name? Or your Grandpa’s name?

How old is he/she?

What year was he/she born?

Where does he/she live?

Any other questions you can think of?

If you would like to learn more about the census, these links will take you to some very interesting films about it.

If you want to learn more…….

Researching census documents is a difficult but fascinating task.

Although historic census records have been digitalised as Excel spreadsheets, they do suffer from occasional transcription errors and offer little of the detail from the original census enumeration books including occupation.

Here is a transcription of an original page from the 1911 census looking at the area around the village shop and Smith Hill. You see it lists the Post Office, as the Supply Stores was then, as well as a shop.

Source year Given names Last name Year of birth Census order Address Marital status Occupation Gender
1911 James Weston 1859 42 The Triangle, Fore Street Married Coachman (domestic) Male
1911 Lucy Weston 1874 42 The Triangle, Fore Street Married Dressmaker Female
1911 Meta Weston 1897 42 The Triangle, Fore Street Single Female
1911 Cecil Weston 1898 42 The Triangle, Fore Street Single School Male
1911 Lionel Weston 1909 42 The Triangle, Fore Street Single Male
1911 Susan Causley 1844 43 The Triangle, Fore Street Widow Private Means Female
1911 Samuel John Quantick 1871 44 3 West Street Married Driver – Omnibus Male
1911 Florence E Quantick 1873 44 3 West Street Married Female
1911 Wilfred John Quantick 1903 44 3 West Street Single School Male
1911 Frederick Thomas Quantick 1904 44 3 West Street Single School Male
1911 Reginald George Quantick 1906 44 3 West Street Single School Male
1911 Frances Martin 1846 45 The Triangle, Fore Street Widow Widow – Painter’s Female
1911 Harry Martin 1879 45 The Triangle, Fore Street Single Gardener (domestic) Male
1911 Jessie Martin 1891 45 The Triangle, Fore Street Single Dressmaker Female
1911 Rose Gill 1873 46 The Triangle, Fore Street Widow Cook (domestic) Female
1911 John Gill 1897 46 The Triangle, Fore Street Single Conductor – Bus Male
1911 George Gill 1900 46 The Triangle, Fore Street Single Male
1911 Louisa Gill 1901 46 The Triangle, Fore Street Single Female
1911 William George Taylor 1855 47 Fulford Cottages Widower Driver – Traction Engine Male
1911 Henry Bailey 1880 48 3 Fulford Cottages Married Labourer – Farm Male
1911 Alice Bailey 1876 48 3 Fulford Cottages Married Female
1911 Arthur Bailey 1900 48 3 Fulford Cottages Single Male
1911 Willie Bailey 1901 48 3 Fulford Cottages Single Male
1911 Cecil Bailey 1904 48 3 Fulford Cottages Single Male
1911 Pearl Bailey #VAL 48 3 Fulford Cottages Single Female
1911 William Townsend 1841 49 Fulford Cottages, Clanage Street Married Gardener (domestic) Male
1911 Elizabeth Townsend 1837 49 Fulford Cottages, Clanage Street Married Female

These were hand written, working documents and prone to illegibility and corrections and the originals were sometimes hard to decipher.

Although matters improved with successive censuses some problems always arise that make it hard to deduce just what properties can be linked with particular people and trades.

  • Street names were often not recorded.
  • Street names changed: The best example being Fore Street which  shifted location and name ( Post Office Street)  over the decades.
  • House numbers are rarely recorded although larger house names were.
  • Houses were pulled down or infilled while new ones were built. For example the current  64 Fore Street, next to the Supply Stores, was two thatched cottages until around about 1910.  Then it was known as York Cottage. It is worth remembering that the viilage we see today has constantly changed over the centuries.
  • Enumerators (the people who collected the information) did not seem to always have an obvious route when recording the census.  Quite often they would do a few houses in a row and then jump to another part of the village.

Researchers at BH have spent some time doing detective work trying to get a more accurate picture. Here are some of their tactics in trying to triangulate the information.

Some occupations tie a person to a particular property. In an example from the 1841 census we can see that a Joseph Berry was a grocer in a property that could possibly be the site of the village shop. We immediately lose the trail but perhaps the enumerator then went up West Street as we soon find an Innkeeper, Thomas Mann, which would suggest this may be the Commercial Inn .

Sometimes a name can be linked to the same property by comparing censuses. This is unusual though because Bishopsteignton had a moving population, partly because few people owned their houses and would often move between rented accommodation. With owner occupier houses it would seem common that people were only there for a few years. There are very few examples of the same family occupying a house for more than one generation.

Occasionally a commercial property fixes the location if the person lived at or close to the premises. The blacksmiths, (forge) where the public toilets are now, is a good example, as are the pubs.

Sometimes local anecdotes and house names give us a clue. We know that Philip Coombe was born in Clanage Street, the family were bakers and the oven is still in the garden! Similarly Baker’s Cottage in Fore Street was a baker’s shop.

Be a census detective

1911-Bishopsteignton-Census

Source year Given names Last name Year of birth Census order Address Marital status Occupation Gender
1911 William Boone 1843 50 Clanage Street Married Innkeeper Male
1911 Martha Boone 1861 50 Clanage Street Married Female
1911 William Henry Boone 1892 50 Clanage Street Single Apprentice – Plumber’s Male
1911 Sidney Joseph Boone 1897 50 Clanage Street Single General servant (domestic) Male
1911 Violet Mary Boone 1902 50 Clanage Street Single School Female
1911 Mary Ann Strowbridge 1827 50 Clanage Street Widow Widow – Farm Labourer’s Female
1911 Elizabeth Hurley 1858 51 Clanage Street Single Dressmaker Female
1911 Susanna Hurley 1822 51 Clanage Street Widow Widow – Farm Labourer’s Female
1911 William Kidston 1875 52 The Triangle, Clanage Street Single Gardener (domestic) Male
1911 Louisa Kidston 1843 52 The Triangle, Clanage Street Widow Female
1911 Thomas Kidston 1877 52 The Triangle, Clanage Street Single Ld Stoker, Royal Navy Male
1911 Edward Kidston 1882 52 The Triangle, Clanage Street Single Farm – Labourer Male
1911 Daniel Coombe 1855 53 The Triangle, Clanage Street Married Brickworks – Labourer Male
1911 Mary Coombe 1857 53 The Triangle, Clanage Street Married Grocery, own account Female
1911 Philip Coombe 1892 53 The Triangle, Clanage Street Single Apprentice – Plumber’s Male
1911 Charity Agnes Coombe 1900 53 The Triangle, Clanage Street Single School Female
1911 George Henley 1884 54 Clanage Street Married Carpenter Male
1911 Mary Henley 1883 54 Clanage Street Married Female
1911 Thomas Henley 1906 54 Clanage Street Single School Male
1911 de Brett Martha Sandilande 1836 55 Clanage Single Private Means Female
1911 George Pinkham 1850 56 Clanage Street Widower Farm – Labourer Male
1911 Florence Pinkham 1879 56 Clanage Street Single General servant (domestic) Female
1911 William Pinkham 1881 56 Clanage Street Single Farm – Labourer Male
1911 Alfred Pinkham 1886 56 Clanage Street Single Farm – Labourer Male
1911 Mary Pinkham 1911 56 Clanage Street Single Female

1. Do you know what is meant by a household?

2. How many different professions are recorded?

3. What does a carpenter do?

4. What is meant by ‘private means’?

5. What did William Pinkham do?

6. And William Henry Boone?

 7.  How old was Philip Combe in 1911 and what did he do?

Source year Given names Last name Date of birth Year of birth Census order Address Marital status Occupation Gender
1939 Ernest May 26/11/1873 1873 301 “Little Hayes” Married Farmer (Retired) Male
1939 Jessie May 19/05/1867 1867 301 “Little Hayes” Married Unpaid Domestic Duties Female
1939 Philip Coombe 25/09/1891 1891 302 “Locarno” Married Builder (Master) Male
1939 Grace W Coombe 14/04/1898 1898 302 “Locarno” Married Unpaid Domestic Duties Female
1939 Molly H Coombe 18/10/1929 1929 302 “Locarno” Single At School Female
1939 Albert Howard 28/08/1876 1876 302 “Locarno” Widow Market Gardener Own Account Male
1939 Grace G Jervis 05/06/1881 1881 303 “Humara” Widow Unpaid Domestic Duties Female
1939 Dorothy G Jervis 27/02/1906 1906 303 “Humara” Single Unpaid Domestic Duties Female
1939 Frederic L Righton 27/04/1879 1879 304 1 River View. Married Works Foreman Gold Coast Govt Rlys Retired Male
1939 Mary M Righton 04/06/1893 1893 304 1 River View. Married Unpaid Domestic Duties Female
1939 This record is officially closed. 304 1 River View.
1939 Richard B Berry 21/06/1880 1880 305 2 Married Undertaker & Carpenter (Own Account Male
1939 Blanche M Berry 13/12/1882 1882 305 2 Married Unpaid Domestic Duties Female
1939 Jack Hulland 17/12/1915 1915 306 2 Puner Cottage Married Bricklayer (Foreman) Male
1939 Mary Hulland 10/10/1910 1910 306 2 Puner Cottage Married Unpaid Domestic Duties Female
1939 This record is officially closed. 306 2 Puner Cottage
1939 William H Sharland 25/04/1889 1889 307 1 Married Gardener Male
1939 Rosa Sharland 06/04/1892 1892 307 1 Married Unpaid Domestic Duties Female
1939 John H Sharland 12/09/1922 1922 307 1 Single Gardener (Jobbing) Male
1939 This record is officially closed. 307 1
1939 This record is officially closed. 307 1
1939 Phyllis M Sharland 20/12/1913 1913 307 1 Single Domestic Servant Female
1939 Elizabeth A Pook 07/01/1877 1877 308 Smith Hill House Married Unpaid Domestic Duties Female
1939 David J Pook 13/06/1885 1885 308 Smith Hill House Married Post – Master Male
1939 This record is officially closed. 308 Smith Hill House
1939 This record is officially closed. 308 Smith Hill House
1939 Caroline M L Pook 30/12/1861 1861 309 Widow Unpaid Domestic Duties Female

9. What did Richard R. Berry do?

10. And his wife Blanche?

11. What is meant by unpaid domestic duties?

12. Who lived in ‘Locarno’?

13. What was the date of birth of Molly Combe?

14. Why was there a census in 1939 if they are normally every ten years, and the last one had been in 1931?

15. What were the main differences between the 1911 and 1939 census?

If you would like to learn more about investigating census material, follow this link

https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documents/education/census-detective.pdf

If you know that one of your ancestors lived in the village, try putting their name into the Parish Census Tool here on the site, to discover more.

https://www.bishopsteigntonheritage.co.uk/research/census-search-tool/

References and credits

The householder is a) the person who lives, or is present, at this address who: owns/rents (or jointly owns/rents) the accommodation; and/or is responsible (or jointly responsible) for paying the household bills and expenses A household is  a) one person living alone; or b) a group of people (not necessarily related) living at the same address who share cooking facilities and share a living room or sitting room or dining area

Nationalities

English, Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish, British, Other

Ethnic groups

A  White English/Welsh/Scottish/Northern Irish/British, Irish Gypsy or Irish Traveller Any other White background, B  Mixed/multiple ethnic groups White and Black Caribbean, White and Black African, White and Asian Any other Mixed / multiple ethnic background C  Asian/Asian British Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi Chinese Any other Asian background D  Black/African/Caribbean/Black British African, Caribbean Any other Black/African/Caribbean background E  Other ethnic group, Arab Any other ethnic group

Descended means you have come down, in other words, one of your anscestors, someone related to you from the past, may have lived in the village.

A Carpenter repairs or makes things out of wood. Private Means is when someone has their own money and does not need to work.

William Pinkham was a Farm labourer.

William Henry Boone was an apprentice plumber.

Phillip Coombe was 19 and was an apprentice plumber

1939 Census

Richard R. Berry was an undertaker and carpenter.

His wife Blanche did unpaid domestic duties.

Unpaid domestic duties means someone cleaning the house, washing the laundry, making meals etc, without beig paid

The Coombe family lived at ‘Locarno’

Molly Coombe was born on 18th October 1929

In 1939 the government were aware that Britain would soon be involved in World War 2 so there might be no chance to have a correct census in 1941. Also they knew they would need to issue identity cards in the event of war, so they needed to know the information in advance.