Check the 1911 ‘ fer­til­ity’ an­swer

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - 20TH CENTURY ANCESTORS -

The cen­sus of 1911 is some­times known as the ‘fer­til­ity cen­sus’, be­cause a new ques­tion was in­tro­duced to the house­hold schedule ask­ing for the to­tal num­ber of births of mar­ried women in their present mar­riage. This fig­ure was then bro­ken down into chil­dren who were still alive and those who had died.

Some house­hold­ers mis­un­der­stood this ques­tion, and there are many ex­am­ples of sched­ules con­tain­ing full de­tails of all chil­dren who had been born – even if they were now dead, while other par­ents in­cluded chil­dren born dur­ing pre­vi­ous mar­riages. In ad­di­tion a widow or wid­ower might give the num­ber of chil­dren that they had had, even though the ques­tion was aimed only at those who were still mar­ried.

To make the most of the clues, it is worth fol­low­ing up with de­tailed searches in the birth and death in­dexes on the Gen­eral Reg­is­ter Of­fi­cer (GRO) web­site: www.gro.gov.uk. Help­fully, the birth in­dex now in­cludes mother’s maiden name prior to 1911, which can help iden­tify the chil­dren born to a given mar­riage.

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