I am a firm believer on looking forward, not back which really contradicts the life of a genealogist. The 2021 Census takes place in England and Wales today (Scotland have delayed their Census until 2022) and that has concentrated the thoughts on where and when I appear on a Census from the past and those who appear on those Census with me and are sadly no longer here.
On February 21st, the Government circulated a A6 card to each household which said The census is coming. It shared the date and said the completion of the Census was required by law.
Then on 5 March the paper form arrived. The form is addressed to the householder and clearly stated on the front of the form is a household reference number which must be provided to complete the form online.
I completed our form online, retaining the form along with a set of answers. I filed the form earlier today (which must be a record, as I rarely file material unless the pile of paper is heading towards disaster levels!), along side the 2021 form is the information and copies from 2001 and 2011.
1971 – This took place on 25 April. I was two years old and living in Guildford, Surrey. Others in the household were my maternal Grandparents and my late Mum. My Grandparents had lived in this house from 1940 and it remained in the family until 1996.
My Grandfather, George Butcher was 63 years old, having been born in 1908 in Flexford, Wanborough Surrey about 4 miles from Guildford. He was working at Unigate Dairies in Guildford as a site foreman. He had previously worked for a local business, Lymposs Smee which was acquired by Unigate. He began working for them in 1940, before enlisting in the British Army. He remained working for Unigate until he retired, presented with a gold watch which I have inherited.
My Grandmother, Lilian Edith Butcher (nee Matthews) was 59 years old. She had been born in Guildford in 1912. Whilst my Grandmother had worked, in her early years and during the War, she was not working in 1971 and I make an assumption that she was recorded as a home maker in this census.
My late Mum was 24 years old and was born in Guildford Surrey. She had worked prior to my birth and did so whilst I was a child, I am not sure whether she was working at this point or not and as I never asked her, it is too late now – 😦
1981 – This took place on 5 April. The major change in this period of time was my Grandmother was listed as a widow. My Grandfather had died in July 1974, just months before their 35th Wedding Anniversary. Mum is now 32 years old and working.
I was aged almost 12 and about to start at senior school. In that ten year window since 1971, I had been at junior school, Sandfield which was the same junior school that my Mum went to, my first teacher is still alive, so I won’t name her, but Mum and I shared that same teacher too. I started at Sandfield school in 1974 and remained at there until 1978. I then moved to Holy Trinity middle school where I remained until July 1981.
1991 – This took place on 21 April. My Grandmother is still listed as a widow and Mum is now 42 years old and still working. The biggest change relates to myself and I am missing from the 1991 Census in England and Wales because I am in Australia. Information about the 1991 Census can be found HERE
2001 – This took place on 29 April. The last decade has been busy for me, with lots of challenges and adjustments. I am back from Australia. I have married, an event which also took place outside of the UK and Ireland and like many I have changed my name, taking that of my husband. I am 32 years old and my husband is 30. Not only that, the last decade has seen me return to Surrey, firstly to Guildford then to the London borough of Sutton.
We then subsequently moved to Devon, in 1996. My late Mum is now 54 and has moved from Surrey to Devon. She lives with us for a time before moving into her own home, having found one suitable. Mum is no longer working, having taken early retirement because of her health.
I have returned to university as a mature student and read history. I graduate in 2000 and return to my original profession in a temporary capacity.
2011 – This took place on 27 March. We are still living in Devon, Mum is 64 and not in great health. We are both working, though I am now 42 and pondering on the way forward, debating when to leave. My temporary capacity has in fact become anything but temporary, for no other reason, than it just happened. My husband is 40 and working. We both decide that we need that work-life balance to be front and centre.
2021 – This took place on 21 March. What can I say? In the last decade we have had the most change and turmoil. We are both still working, though we did make some severe adjustments to the work-life balance. For me that involved undertaking the teaching of the Pharos courses that I frequently mention here – growing the Surname and One-Name Studies courses by one, having written a new course (course 903) in the latter part of 2019. I am currently in the final stages of writing a new course (course 750) and have notes on another potential one.
We have in the last decade moved from Devon to County Durham, a distance of around 400 miles. We have also experienced significant loss – my Mum passed away in Devon in the early part of 2014, just before her 67th birthday. My husband’s parents have also passed away, my father in law in 2010 and mother in law in 2019. We have celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary and are heading towards our 27th. I have passed the half a century mark, and I am on my way to my 52nd birthday, whilst my husband is on the way to his 50th.
What will the next decade bring? I have no idea, but it is important to make every day count.