Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - CENSUS SEARCHING -

Mad though it sounds, this can ac­tu­ally be an ef­fec­tive way of find­ing peo­ple whose other bi­o­graph­i­cal de­tails like first name, place of birth and age have been con­sis­tently writ­ten on the cen­sus re­turns that you have found so far. Sim­ply typ­ing in those con­sis­tent de­tails and leav­ing the sur­name box blank might lead you to your an­ces­tor. You could even dis­cover that their sur­name had changed al­to­gether – this some­times oc­curred when a widow re­mar­ried be­tween cen­sus re­turns, or when chil­dren in­for­mally adopted a step-fa­ther’s sur­name.

In­stead of leav­ing the sur­name box blank you could also try search­ing only for your an­ces­tor’s first and last name ini­tials, be­cause the masters of some large in­sti­tu­tions like work­houses, in­dus­trial schools and hos­pi­tals only listed their in­mates’ ini­tials but usu­ally spec­i­fied ages and places of birth. Ad­mis­sion records could then con­firm your find­ings.

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