The recent thread regarding some aspects of the history of the Census serves to remind
us that a degree of caution is necessary before accepting them as gospel.
The lot of the clerk compiling these early returns is something that has exercised my
imagination in the past. The analogy drawn by Jon Frayne has the ring of truth about
it. You can imagine the plight of the census taker on a dark night calling at oil or gas
lit households where universal literacy was still some way off. After the explanation for
the visit came the questions. There maybe a regional accent involved. "Name of head
of household please?" " Warlot yurbwaning then,yore be three onus yare
mdear?" "Yours will do for a start." " Alright us'll call father
down." After a few minutes 'Father' appears. "Wassis awlaboutthen?"
Further explanation is given. "Name please?" "Ahisabremcornelius!"
" I beg your pardon,What did you say?" "Hazed ahisabremcornelius!"
pause,..".How do you spell it?" "Hadunnoim,..young Jessie,comdoner. Own
dosit spell my name girl?" and so on etc.
Height ho only six more streets to do!!!
It is a tribute to these early census clerks that so much material of substance was
recorded at all. It is not at all surprising that errors crept in. One has to ask if the
task really did get completed on the day in question?
Best wishes,Jim&Joan Rogers.