For general information see
Introduction to Census Returns

The Exploring Family History Tutorial

The 1871  Census

Midnight Sun/Mon 2/3rd April 1871

& 1881 Census

Midnight Sun/Mon 4/5th April 1881

We know from the 1901 census (view) that Florence Maud King was born in St Luke's, London circa 1867, and from Gladys's birth certificate (view) that her maiden name was King. From her marriage certificate (view) we know her father was George William King.

(This information agreed with the Bible)

Task: Find her, as a child with her parents, in the 1871 census and the 1881 census.

The 1871 census is online and accessible on the Ancestry web site. A search is made using the following terms

First Name Florence
Last Name King
Birth Year 1867
County London
Parish St Luke

An examination of the list of possibilities led to the following household living at:

3 Sidney Place, Islington, Middlesex

Geo Wm King Head Married 42 Wine Cooper

Southwark, London

Eliza King Wife Married 41  


Geo Wm King Son   17 Groom


Wm Hy King Son   14 Cellar Boy


Eliza M King Daughter   13 Servant


Alice S King Daughter   7  


Walter F King Son   5  


Florence M King Daughter   4  


Clara Evelina King Daughter   2  


Note that Florence has an older sister, Eliza, who was born 9 years earlier. This matches with the sister-in-law with the hard to read surname in the 1901 census (view). The mystery name must be King, with the "i" left out and the top of the "g" left open.

A similar search of the 1881 census using familysearch produced the following household:

 9 Sidney Place, London

Name   Status Sex Age Birthplace Occupation
Eliza KING Head Widow Female 51 Smithfield, Mddx  
Eliza M KING Daur   Female 23 Smithfield, Mddx Lady Help
Alice KING Daur   Female 18 St Georges, Middx Lady Help
Halken KING Son   Male 15 Surrey Warehouse Man
Florence KING Daur   Female 14 St Lukes, Middx Jewellery Polisher
Archie KING Son   Male 8 Islington, Middx  
William KING Lodger Married Male 24 Smithfield, Middx Warehouseman
Emma KING Wife Married Female 24 Islington, Middx  
George KING Son   Male 3 Islington, Middx  

There are two general points to note. 

The first relate to the problem with "London" which is illustrated by the differences in the places of birth given in the two censuses. The official situation was that the "City of London" was surrounded by parishes in Middlesex. However, in common parlance the term "London" included the urban parishes lying north of the Thames, and later some south of the Thames as well. You must always be aware that if a document refers simply to London it could refer to the City of London, or places in Middlesex or Surrey.

The second relates to transcription errors when the census was drawn up. It seems likely that the "Walter" in the 1871 census is the same as the "Halken" of the 1881 census. The relevant images are:

"Walter" -1871

"Halken" - 1881

Both names have the same general shape and were copied from the individual household forms (which were not kept) into the enumeration books at the time the census was taken. It could well be that one of the enumerators had difficulty in reading the household form and made a mistake in copying. One needs to check other records to see which is correct - although Walter seems more likely.

Result of Investigation

Florence King has been traced back to her parent's household in Islington in 1871, with information about a number of siblings as well. The problem over the name  of the sister-in-law, Eliza King, has been solved. Her father, George William King, died between 1871 and 1881. He therefore cannot be the G. W. King who witnessed Florence's wedding in 1889 (view).

It should be possible to explore the family further, using the online census returns, helped with birth, marriage  and death certificates, but this tutorial will return to the Horwood line and their Hertfordshire ancestors.

While many transcription errors occur in indexing the census, one must also remember that errors could have been made when the enumeration books were being made up.

[None of the information on this page is in the bible.]

April 2006

Mary Henson (mm.henson @t wrote: Was amazed on finding your tutorial pages that my KING family are featured.  I spent years trying to find out more about Halken King and eventually realising his name was mistranscribed.  Have not been able to get back any further than 1829 with this line.  But very pleased they feature in your tutorial.

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