For general information see
Introduction to Census Returns

The Exploring Family History Tutorial


The 1881 Census

Midnight Sun/Mon 4/5th April 1881

We have found out about Thomas William Horwood's marriage in 1889 (view), supplemented with information from the 1891 (view) and 1901 census (view), and his eldest daughter's birth certificate (view).

Task: Find what he was doing as an adult before his marriage, from the 1881 census.

A transcript of the 1881 census is online and accessible on the familysearch web site as well as Ancestry. A search was made using the following terms: 

First Name Thomas
Last Name Horwood
Birth Year 1863
Range 2 years
County London

Nothing useful was found using Ancestry but the following household was found using familysearch:

5 St John St Rd, London

Name   Status Sex Age Birthplace Occupation
Mary Ann BULL Head Widow Female 60 London Tobacconist
Henry B MICHINTON Nephew Unmarried Male 21 London Jeweller
Thos. Wm. HARWOOD Nephew Unmarried Male 18 London Apprentice to Jeweller
Charlotte HAREHEY Cousin Widow Female 60 London Assistant

Cautionary Note: Ancestry and familysearch both use the same transcript of the 1881 census and at first sight the difference in search performance are surprising. The difference arises because the normal search on Ancestry rated all records with the name "Horwood" as being more likely that any with variant spellings such as "Harwood". The default with familysearch is to treat all variant spellings as equally likely - which means that an 18 year old Thomas with the name "Horwood" or "Harwood" is considered more important than a "Horwood" aged 65. This demonstrates that to get the best out of any census search it is important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the search routines.

Result of Investigation

Thomas has been located in a very interesting household - where everyone is related - which could prove very useful in researching Thomas's ancestry - although such investigations lie outside the scope of this tutorial. 

His apprenticeship suggests how he came to work in the jewellery industry.


Exploring Family History Tutorial

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Page created November 2005