Saturday, 19 May 2012

A Mystery Child

I have taken to starting my research of our English ancestors in the 1901 Census of England and Wales, despite the fact that most people recommend starting with the most recent census (which, in this case, would be 1911).
One of the first searches I did in the 1901 census was for Gertrude Constance Musk, Mark's maternal grandmother; I found her, age 12, living with her parents Charles (37) and Florence (36), and younger sister Kathleen (7). Charles was listed as a congregational minister, and thus far there were no surprises, although there was plenty of additional information in terms of places of birth for each of the four members of the family, as well as an address as at the date of the census. 
The census conducted ten years later was equally unsurprising at first glance, although it appeared the family had moved home since the 1901 census had been conducted (I haven't yet researched whether they were living at a different address in the same area, or had moved to a different area entirely).  As the two girls were now older I hoped to see some information as to whether one or both of them had started working, and I wasn't disappointed: Connie, as she was known to the family, was working as an elementary school teacher and 17 year old Kath was still at school. 
However the 1911 Census of England and Wales introduced additional questions and this is where the surprise that caused me to catch my breath came in: there had been a third child born to Charles and Florence, a child who, by the time of the 1911 census, had died. 
It's a shame the 1901 census didn't ask the questions as to how many children had been born to the relationship and how many were still living... was this child born between the 1901 census and the 1911 census, meaning it would have been the youngest of the three siblings? According to the 1911 census Charles and Florence had been married for 23 years; was this child born soon after their wedding and, as such, would he or she have a been older at the time of the 1911 than the 22 year old Connie? 
My research plans include: 
  • finding out when Charles and Florence were married, and where,
  • finding a date of birth for Connie, and then using these two dates to work out the likelihood that another birth may have occurred in the interim (highly unlikely),
  • researching births in the areas Charles and Florence had lived between the time of their marriage and the time of the 1911 census, which may list them as parents, to see if I can track down the mystery child,
  • conducting the same sort of research with deaths, however perhaps if the child was stillborn the records may be different.


  1. You might want to try researching at
    I found it was a great site for locating some of basic information when starting our UK ancestor research.
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)

    1. I did go and check that link out, Theresa, and it is fantastic! Thanks again for the tip!

  2. Thanks so much Theresa, much appreciated! I will definitely have a look... I think I may have heard of it before but, with the overwhelming amount of information that has assailed me as a new family historian, I think I quickly forgot about it.