Friday, November 8, 2013

Tracking Frances Armitage through the censuses

My great great great grandmother, Frances Armitage, was born around 1829 in Lockwood, Yorkshire, which is now part of Huddersfield. On 11 July 1847, she married William Broughton in nearby Almondbury. From her marriage record, I know that her father's name was Joseph Armitage.

With this knowledge, it was easy enough to find Frances and her family in the 1871 census. Once I looked on Ancestry I also quickly found them in the 1861 and 1881 censuses (Ancestry subscription required for those last two links). But I didn't have enough information to find Frances before her marriage.

I've found various records that seem promising based on the name, approximate birth date, and father's name, including a birth record on FamilySearch. They all have a mother named Martha. So I figured, if I could just determine that Frances' mother's name was Martha, it would be a pretty safe assumption that these other records belonged to her as well.

Enter the 1851 census (Ancestry link). The image is nigh unreadable, but looking at that and the transcription together I was able to figure out some things. Frances' family group was transcribed as William Broughton, age 30, head; Frances Broughton, age 23, daughter; Benjamin Wetherhill, age 24, lodger. Now, obviously this is a mistake in relationships, since Frances couldn't be William's daughter when she's only seven years younger than him.

But it all started to make sense when I looked at the people listed right before this family: Martha Armitage, age 61, head; Ann Armitage, age 15, son [weird...]; Richard Armitage, age 13, grandson. And, it appears that this household and the Broughton household are actually all at the same address! So, I figure that Frances Broughton is listed as daughter because she is actually the daughter of the head of the household, Martha Armitage, and for whatever reason William was listed as head instead of son-in-law.

So, the result of all this is that I'm reasonably certain that Frances' mother was named Martha, and therefore I'm reasonably certain that I have the right birth record, meaning I now have Frances' exact birth date! Next step: get her birth record from the parish records. This is a step I haven't taken yet in any of my English lines; I always just get back to the beginning of the civil BMD records and then stop and work on something else. This is because I tend to shy away from things that I can't do online. But eventually I'm going to want my English lines to go back pre-1830s, so this is definitely a skill I need to learn!

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