St Brides Beach
first generally useful census to be held in the UK was in 1841 and it was
repeated at 10 years intervals (with the exception of 1941). The volume and
accuracy of the recorded data has tended to increase but the essence has
remained the same - to try and identify every single person and their
location at census time. This objective was achieved by the completion of an
enumeration return for predefined Enumeration districts. Needless to say
there were exceptions from the norm created mainly by non-domestic
habitations (typical examples include vessels, military units and
a large extent any particular return is only as good as the Enumerator
employed to complete the documentation - some took great care and wrote
legibly others less so. In Wales written and verbal bilinguality is a
significant issue as English speakers lived in places which retained Welsh
placenames (and to a lesser extent vice versa).
of the original reasons for the creation of the Cenquest 1891 census database was the
disappointing result obtained when searching for known individuals.
Searching for a Welsh person is difficult enough due to the limited number
of names in use and hence the proliferation of similarly named individuals.
This in turn means that ancillary data such as places of residence or birth
are often of critical importance in the identification of an individual.
So often the failure to obtain a "hit" was clearly the result of
inadequacy in the Welsh language by the enumerator or transcriber or both.
The other area of concern was the lack of any checks on the internal
consistency of the data.
has tried to reduce those sources of error. Transcription has been
undertaken by staff with local knowledge and bilingual skills. Wherever
possible the data has been subjected to internal consistency checks and any
queries generated have been re-checked against the source materials.
aim has been to provide information of a consistently high standard that is
not slavishly dependent on the individual enumerator or transcriber. Much
has been written on preserving the "purity" of the original record by
transcribing "as is". Our approach is to suggest corrections or
modifications where this will assist a family history researcher and to footnote any change
made to the original record. We have permitted the addition of extra
information in the form of honorifics, placename derivations and map
references. These additions are ours and may be wrong, inaccurate or
incomplete but are made in good faith to assist in the identification of
people and places. In all cases we encourage family history researchers to support their
identifications with a copy of the original information. We can provide this
either as a hardcopy print forwarded by ordinary mail or as a scanned
digital image attached to an email. Please note that the quality of the
image is variable due to both legibility and preservation of the original.
The primary dataset
is a transcription of the census enumeration books which are available to Cenquest
in the form of photographic materials courtesy of The National Archives.
this is a list of all places (properties) within a census enumeration district together
with details of address and occupants. Schedule numbers (schedules) were
allocated on an incremental sequential basis for each household and/or
family. Within a schedule the members of the household were listed in order
of relationship to the most "senior" or Head. A typical schedule might
consist of father and mother together with their children in age order
followed by servants. In other words an individual schedule may include
distant relatives, visitors and workers besides the core family members.
Special enumeration records were often completed in respect of vessels, military and naval establishments together with pauper Institutions and Trinity House lights. The enumeration was usually undertaken by a senior official or his delegate. However small groups of people in these categories may also appear within the main text of an enumeration book but more often at the end as an Addendum. These "households" often contain a mix of family and organizational relationships.
far as possible we have tried to clarify the existence of these groups of
people by generating artificial enumeration districts (900 series) and
schedule numbers (where necessary) so as to organize the data in a
meaningful manner (we have given relevant reference numbers and noted the
source of any extractions).
an enumerator has omitted a schedule number we have generated a decimal
fraction - so for example if 2 schedules have been omitted between
schedules 7 and 8 then we have generated 7.1 and 7.2.
districts define an area whose boundaries were well defined in order to
avoid duplication or omissions in the recording process. Enumeration
districts were grouped into sub-Registration districts which in turn
provided the Registration districts of each County. Needless to say a degree
of "administrative convenience" (and confusion) arises at county
boundaries with some villages split across a number of counties and some
parts of counties recorded in the returns of another. (Perhaps one of the
more notorious is the inclusion of Cardigan the county town of Cardiganshire
in the returns for Pembrokeshire, but there are many other examples. (It
should also be noted that the counties and county boundaries of a century
ago are not necessarily those of today). The Enumeration districts are often
described in some considerable detail and we have tried to enhance this
written record with visual additions. Where possible we have used
contemporary material - but this has not been possible in all cases.
(Should you have any material that you wish to share with fellow researchers
please contact us).
Although the majority of people recorded in the census lived in the county of their birth, there were those who were born in other parts of Wales, Britain and indeed from all around the globe. The following examples illuminate:
Anne Ladd (8 years old) - living in Moylegrove but born in the Welsh
colony of Patagonia (Southern Argentina).
S Sturt (a retired general of the Indian Army) - living in Newport but
born in Sydney, Australia.
F Graham (a retired mariner) - living in St Dogmells but born in Montreal,
Morris (a young tailors apprentice) - living in Cardigan town was born in
Scranton, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, USA.
A Harwood (a scholar) - living in St Mary Pembroke Dock was born in San
Francisco, California, USA.
Eliza Wemys (a 65 year old married lady) living in Blaenporth, Cardiganshire
was born in Port Elizabeth, Natal, which is now part of the Republic of
It is of
course of crucial importance to your family history research to try and
obtain the correct identification of the place of birth of your ancestor in
order to obtain a Birth certificate - another verifiable documentation link
in your researches.
There are many
potential sources of confusion but especially so in Wales where the issues
of Welsh and alternative spelling arise in abundance. (Alternative spellings
are those that by their sheer frequency of occurrence need to be recognised
even if strictly speaking they may be spelling errors).
complications can arise from abbreviation (Saint, St, St., Sain and Sant),
punctuation and concatenation (or any combination thereof).
For example the
Clears, St. Clears, Saint Clears (Carmarthenshire)
Rowen, Ro-wen, Y
Ro-wen, Y Rowen (Caernarvonshire).
Pembrokeshire (Welsh placename Trefdraeth)
Monmouthshire (Welsh placename Casnewydd - a modern artifact)
Note: Newport also
exists in other areas such as the Isle of Wight and Cambridgeshire.
St Dogwells (OS
grid ref. SM9727) Welsh place name Llantydewi
St Dogmells (OS
grid ref. SN1645) Welsh place name Llandudoch and with alternative spellings
of St Dogmaels, St Dogmels.
For example St
Mary(s), Pembrokeshire could refer to
(in-Liberty) in Tenby
or St Mary Pembroke
may well be that a researcher has access to documents or tradition that
recall only the lesser used (and possibly abandoned) placename resulting in
a failure to locate or identify a place that would have been recognised by
For example Ambleston in Pembrokeshire is easily located and identified - but Treamlod the Welsh placename spelling of this village may elude researchers without local knowledge or relevant maps.
(Haverfordwest) may not be immediately obvious.
Wdig (Goodwick) may
leave both past and present generations baffled!
There is no doubt
that errors have been introduced by the processes of enumeration and
transcription. Cenquest has tried to minimise these by internal validity
checks. Where a Pembrokeshire placename was not recognised by the Gazetteer
then the source material has been reinspected and if necessary, further
searches made of our placename sources in order to try and resolve the issue
(many of the more elusive places have been Farms or Hamlets). For example
Trecifft in Cardigan is not a village in Cardiganshire but an abandoned farm
near to Cardigan town.
It has not been possible to eliminate all "unknowns" even within our target counties - we welcome any contributions that may be forthcoming from private researchers.
Clearly this is not
the place for a detailed discussion but it is worth noting a few salient
points about Welsh.
The adjective normally follows the noun in Welsh, in contrast to English where it precedes the noun. Hence Whitemill in English is Felinwen or "Millwhite" in Welsh.
The first letter of
a Welsh word may be mutated depending upon the (historical) context
according to one of three mutations:
In practice this
means that if the source is within a Welsh text, then a placename, for
example may start off somewhat differently than if it were written in
|Original Leading Letter||B||C||D||G||Ll||M||P||Rh||T|
Pembrokeshire=Shire Pembroke=Sir Benfro
names took the general form A son of B son of C etc.
The Welsh for
"son of" is "ap" and this may be preserved in the modern derivatives
by combination or concatenation.
Morgan son of Rhys would be
Morgan ap Rhys
Or in modern forms
As an aside it may
be noted that there was a tendency (tradition may be too strong a word) for
children to be named after or in memory of, their grandparents. Indeed in
some families to not do so would have been taken as a form of rebuff or
insult. The typical rule would have been to name the first son after the
paternal grandfather (fatherís father) and the first daughter after the
maternal grandmother (motherís mother) the next son and daughter would
then be named after the maternal grandfather and paternal grandmother
The Welsh names
list is fairly limited and hence repetitive; the Enumerators took advantage
of this to abbreviate many entries.
Please do not take the above examples
as definitive - the My above may actually have been that particular
Enumerators abbreviation for May. More important is that the researcher
makes appropriate use of wildcard/joker characters when completing his
search parameters. In other words it is unlikely that David Thomas William
Jones is enumerated in that form - far more likely to be David Thos W
Jones or similar.
Cenquest database is easily accessible on an intuitive basis but we do wish
to emphasise the power and utility of using "*" the wildcard or joker
character in order to maximize the probability of achieving a successful
The main reason for this in respect of personal names is that the Enumerator may not have recorded your ancestors name in a completely formal manner (in comparison with certificates of Birth, Marriage or Death).
James David Thomas
may have been enumerated as
James Dd Thomas or
James D. Thomas
Please note that
wherever possible Cenquest has omitted punctuation (especially applies to
placenames) in order to simplify searches.
Entering * Thomas
will return approx 6870 returns
Thomas will return approx 250 hits (note the search is not case sensitive)
Thomas will return around 267 hits including David James Thomas
David Thomas returns a single hit (from Dinas) but misses two possibles -
(James D Thomas - one in Pembroke Dock and one in Llandilo)
searching for female ancestors and unsure of the date of marriage or
re-marriage (i.e. name change) then simply enter the surname/family name as
For example when
looking for somebody whose name may be Mary Anne Williams
Mary* * will give
about 8692 hits
Mary Ann* * will
return some 1069 hits
Mary Anne *will
return around 257 hits
Mary Anne Williams
will give around 10 hits (and some of them are clearly under marriageable
and after pressing the (deep)
view button for the person
and after pressing the (deep)
view button for the "family"
Please note that there are in fact 4
people in the family but you need to scroll down the screen to see her 5
year old son David George Williams who is a Welsh speaker.
Right click and select 'save target as' to download the User Notes. (pdf)