The census records are a great starting point for your research and allow us to develop a picture of our ancestors that we can then expand on. The accurate, user-friendly nature of TheGenealogist allows family historians to dive straight into the records you wish to find, quickly and easily. They give us a snapshot in time of our ancestors, so it's important to find your ancestor in each census to get an idea of the life they lived.
Here, we'll look at an example which you can apply to your own research.
One of the common brick walls is an overwhelming amount of records when seasrching for a common surname such as Smith. As is often the case, we start with just a few known, limited details. We wish to find Thomas Smith, a surname that usually fills researchers with dread due to the thousands of records they have to trawl through to find the right person. All we know about Thomas is that he was a solicitor living in Liverpool and that his parents were John and Sara.
When searching for a common name, it's useful to refine your search as much as possible, using the details you know. In this case, as we know three of the family members' names, we can start by inputting these into TheGenealogist's Family Search feature.
Selecting the 1911 Census brings back just the one result: the family we're after. We now see a full list of the family, living in Catharine Street, Liverpool. Thomas is living with his parents and four siblings. We can also see Thomas' father John and his brother Herbert were also solicitors - obviously the children were following in their father's footsteps.
One mouse click takes us through to the transcript of the family and full household of 45 Catharine Street, Liverpool.
Using the Person Search's "All Records" feature allows us to take a close look at John, the father of Thomas. We know his date of birth (from the 1911 Census) and with a few chosen keywords, we can view a snapshot of his life over 30 years.
A quick click on the 'View Household' on the 1881 census record shows John aged 25, living at home with his parents. We can see from this that John's father was Thomas J Smith, revealing out Thomas inherited his name from his grandfather and was the third generation of a family of solicitors. The start of a legal family line that was to last for many years to come.
From Thomas J, born 1829, to his son John, born 1856, and finally Thomas' grandson, Thomas James Thompson Smith, born 1889 (along with brothers and sisters) all followed into the profession by the time of the 1911 census.
Sometimes the only information you have on an ancestor is an address. It's also useful to see who is living nearby to give an idea of the affluence of our ancestors and also to look for neighbouring relatives. We know the Smith family were living at Catharine Street, Liverpool in 1901. The list of results includes the name of the head of each household which is useful at a glance to see who is living near.
With a quick click on the 'View Household' icon, we can take a look at the neighbours and see what types of profession they were involved in. Residents of Catharine Street included accountants, surgeons, physicians, a ship owner and other learned professions. From this we can deduce the Smith family lived in a fairly well off part of Liverpool at the time. When glancing at the list of results, we spot another Smith family, living two doors down at number 41. This is John's brother, Thomas J Smith, also a solicitor!