This post contains affiliate links. I may earn money from advertisments, at no cost to you. The opinions expressed in this article are based on my personal experience and research. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the companies mentioned or advertised.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 5: In the Census

Megan

Moving right along in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge, I am moving on to the Week 5 Challenge – In the Census.  Censuses are a great genealogy tool for the family historian.  They provide a snapshot in time of your ancestors – ages, place of birth, occupation, address, relationships between residents at an address.  Sometimes, though they leave you scratching your head.

.

Week 5 – In the Census

I went through a number of ancestors to see what “quirk” I could find in a census of one of my ancestors.  I ended up selecting the 1871 and 1881 Censuses of my great-great-grandfather, Frederick Washbrook as they fit the criteria.  Frederick was born between 1822-1825 in Willenhall, Staffordshire.1,2,3  At the time of the 1871 Census, he was living with his wife Sarah in Lane Head, Willenhall.4  They had four children – Isaac (10 years), Sarah (8 years), Abraham (4 years), and my great-grandmother, Alice Elizabeth (2 years).5  They were all born in Willenhall.6.

Locksmith, Padlock, KeysThere was nothing remarkable in the 1891 Census, Frederick was a Publican and the family lived in the Lodge Tavern Inn on Willenhall Road, Willenhall.7  His sons Abraham and Arthur were both Lock Smith’s and Howard a Key Stamper.8  However, moving back in time to the 1881 Census, the family is living in the Lodge Tavern, 90 Lane Head, Willenhall, however, Frederick, is working not only as a Publican but a Lockmaker as well.9

.

Frederick Washbrook 1881 Census Lock Maker and PublicanWait! What?  I thought this is strange so I checked out the 1871 Census.  Sure enough, Frederick’s occupation is listed as a Cabinet Locksmith and a Beer House Keeper.10

.

Beer House Keeper, PublicanI find it incredibly strange in an era where you tended to have an occupation for life and one similar to your father.  Frederick’s own father, John had been a Locksmith as seen in many of the documents relevant to him.11  Indeed his own sons were working as Locksmiths and Key Stampers.12   So my question today is how does one become both a Locksmith and a Publican?

.
.

Click on the image to find quirky things in your ancestor’s census records.

.



  1. Findmypast, Census Record for Frederick, Sarah, Isaac, Sarah, Abraham, Alice Elizabeth Washbrook, ‘1871 Census England, Wales & Scotland, Lane Head, Willenhall, Wolverhampton, Staffordshire’, Accessed 7 March 2015.
  2. Findmypast, Census Record for Frederick, Sarah, Isaac, Sarah, Abraham, Alice Elizabeth, Arthur, Howard Washbrook, ‘1881 Census England, Wales & Scotland, Lodge Tavern, 90 Lane Head, Willenhall, Wolverhampton, Staffordshire’, Accessed 7 March 2015.
  3. Findmypast, Census Record for Frederick, Sarah, Abraham, Arthur, Howard Washbrook, ‘1891 Census England, Wales & Scotland, Lodge Tavern Inn, Willenhall Road, Willenhall, Wolverhampton, Staffordshire’, Accessed 7 March 2015.
  4. Findmypast, Census Record for Frederick, Sarah, Isaac, Sarah, Abraham, Alice Elizabeth Washbrook, ‘1871 Census England, Wales & Scotland, Lane Head, Willenhall, Wolverhampton, Staffordshire’, Accessed 7 March 2015.
  5. Findmypast, Census Record for Frederick, Sarah, Isaac, Sarah, Abraham, Alice Elizabeth Washbrook, ‘1871 Census England, Wales & Scotland, Lane Head, Willenhall, Wolverhampton, Staffordshire’, Accessed 7 March 2015.
  6. Findmypast, Census Record for Frederick, Sarah, Isaac, Sarah, Abraham, Alice Elizabeth Washbrook, ‘1871 Census England, Wales & Scotland, Lane Head, Willenhall, Wolverhampton, Staffordshire’, Accessed 7 March 2015.
  7. Findmypast, Census Record for Frederick, Sarah, Abraham, Arthur, Howard Washbrook, ‘1891 Census England, Wales & Scotland, Lodge Tavern Inn, Willenhall Road, Willenhall, Wolverhampton, Staffordshire’, Accessed 7 March 2015.
  8. Findmypast, Census Record for Frederick, Sarah, Abraham, Arthur, Howard Washbrook, ‘1891 Census England, Wales & Scotland, Lodge Tavern Inn, Willenhall Road, Willenhall, Wolverhampton, Staffordshire’, Accessed 7 March 2015.
  9. Findmypast, Census Record for Frederick, Sarah, Abraham, Arthur, Howard Washbrook, ‘1891 Census England, Wales & Scotland, Lodge Tavern Inn, Willenhall Road, Willenhall, Wolverhampton, Staffordshire’, Accessed 7 March 2015.
  10. Findmypast, Census Record for Frederick, Sarah, Isaac, Sarah, Abraham, Alice Elizabeth Washbrook, ‘1871 Census England, Wales & Scotland, Lane Head, Willenhall, Wolverhampton, Staffordshire’, Accessed 7 March 2015.
  11. Findmypast, Census Record for John, Mary Ann, David, Henry, HannahWashbrook, ‘1851 Census England, Wales & Scotland, Lane Head, Willenhall, Wolverhampton, Staffordshire’, Accessed 1 March 2015.
  12. Findmypast, Census Record for Frederick, Sarah, Abraham, Arthur, Howard Washbrook, ‘1891 Census England, Wales & Scotland, Lodge Tavern Inn, Willenhall Road, Willenhall, Wolverhampton, Staffordshire’, Accessed 7 March 2015.
Author:

4 Comments

  1. Yvette Clayton
    March 24, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    I enjoyed reading this article. How interesting about your relative’s “quirk” and giving us readers an opportunity to check out our relatives background as well. I may try to find some information about my relatives as well.

    Keep up the great work.

    Regards,
    Yvette

    • Megan
      March 24, 2018 at 2:04 pm

      Hi Yvette
      I’m glad you enjoyed this post. It is funny how “quirks” in records make us question who are ancestors are. I hope you find some things out about your ancestors.
      Regards,
      Megan

  2. Kevin
    KevinReply
    March 25, 2018 at 1:40 am

    Great post! I’ve had quirky experiences going through the US Census. One dealt searching for my father in the 1930 census. It wasn’t easy because my father was born in Brooklyn, NY and I had no idea where in Brooklyn that he lived. It was tough till I got in touch with a distant cousin whose great grandfather was my grandfather’s uncle. She told me what street he lived on and after some time, I found my Italian grandfather lived a few blocks away. When I found it, my grandfather had a more American name (Nicholas) and my father had a girl’s name, last letter was an “a” instead of “o”. I wish the 1930 census had a soundex like some of the previous censuses.

    • Megan
      MeganReply
      March 25, 2018 at 2:44 am

      Hi Kevin

      They certainly weren’t as pedantic in those days about ensuring documentation was correct!  I had a similar situation with my great-great-grandmother Henney who was coded a Henry!  So glad you were able to find someone who could point you in the right direction.  I bet you were ecstatic when you found the correct record!

      Regards,

      Megan

Leave a Reply

Name*
Email*
Url
Your message*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>