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3956Question on Scottish and Irish census records

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  • Xenia Stanford
    Apr 5, 2005
      Please note that your reply will now only go to
      the original sender

      “I am researching in Scotland and Ireland. I want to look into census
      records for both of Scotland and Ireland but I don’t know where to do so.
      Anything I have found online, there is a fee. So I am assuming that I need
      to order the films through the DLS/FHL, but are there places online or other

      Rather than paying some secondary source, why not use the official UK Family
      Records website where you can access for a fee the census records for
      England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland

      See also my answer regarding the specific question on pay-per-view sites.

      As another attendee last night mentioned, there are free sites compiled by
      volunteers that can serve as an index for you to establish the right
      location and census film number/page number and other details so that you
      can order from the Family History Library. Rather than paying to rent an
      entire film if you are only interested in one or two pages, did you know
      that you can order just the printout of a page(s) from FHL? There is a fee
      per page and a minimum amount. I do not know the current $$ but it is less
      than the cost of one film. So if you have one or two pages from several film
      rolls you might save a considerable amount of money.

      Also if you need to obtain the primary record from a pay-per-view site such
      as I mentioned above, you will keep costs down by only paying for the actual
      record you need. Some charge a monthly or yearly fee. Some charge by lines
      downloaded or amount of data accessed. Still others charge by time online.
      So it is good to use the secondary sources to locate the exact record you
      need but no matter how much detail is on the transcription, there is more on
      the primary record. Also even though the recorder of the original event may
      have made errors, there is a greater possibility of errors the more eyes &
      hands involved. For example, on one census transcription, the particular
      person I was interested in was listed as a stepson on the transcription but
      I had already accessed the original record on microfilm and knew he was
      listed as an adopted son. This is a big difference if you are interested in
      the actual blood line.

      To note though that even primary records have mistakes (recorder error or
      even the subject may have lied) here are some errors I found:

      A child was listed on the census record as a daughter and an e was added to
      the end of the first name (Amedee instead of Amede). But the birthdate was
      exactly the same as the first son born to the family. He was my client's
      grandfather rather than grandmother! Perhaps the census taker did not speak
      the same language as the family and it is hard to tell the gender of very
      young babies!

      In other cases I found that women and men too lied about their year of
      birth. One of my children's many great grandmothers listed her birthdate as
      four years younger than she actually was. Now since it often happened in
      French as well as other families that the first child of that name died and
      the name was reused for the next child of the same gender to be born to the
      same family. It was suspicious though that she gave the exact birthday
      (other than the year) as the birth/baptism record I had already obtained. So
      I needed to do further digging to confirm she was the one born on that day
      in the earlier year. I found earlier census and other records that showed
      her as born the same day but an earlier year.

      I also found one of the my children's great great grandfathers knocked ten
      years off his age on a census record. In other cases, I found minors lied
      about their age to make themselves old enough to join the military.

      So it is not just women who sometimes lie about their age!!!

      The moral of these tales is to view every record with a degree of caution
      (or suspicion!) and access as many primary documents you can to confirm the
      details. Also sometimes the family "history" or tales and even the family
      bible can tell the true story of when and where the person was born (e.g.
      the case of the actual birthplace versus the officially recorded birthplace
      of my mother and her siblings).

      Hope I didn't ramble too far off the topic here and that you can benefit
      from my experiences. How does that saying go? I think this is the gist of
      it: The fool learns from his mistakes and the wise man learns from the
      mistakes of others!

      Xenia Stanford (president@...)
      A.G.E. Ancestree Genealogical Enterprises
      Local genealogy book sales, professional research & writing:
      Column: "Nos Racines Francaise" http://globalgenealogy.com/globalgazette
      Scrapbooking & preservation techniques
      Phone: (403) 295-3490; Fax: (403) 274-0564