Sunday, June 27, 2010

Preparing to search in the 1871 census of England using

Just in case you're wondering, I am an ordinary paying customer of They don't know me, I don't know them.

I use other genealogy products but because fits so many of my needs, they are my current favourite.

Back to my search for John VERNELL #1. Right now, I am showing you how I found out there ever was such a person.

Get ready to start searching the census

One of the most wonderful things we have these days is easy access to census data. It was really not long ago (starting around 1992) that I would go to the PRO, first on Chancery Lane and then to the new building at Kew, and look at reels of microfilmed census returns. I hate microfilm! Even microfiche makes me dizzy. So, I'm very thankful for being able to get census returns at the press of a button.

Is it really as easy as that? Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

Looking for John VERNELL and his wife Eleanor Anne in the 1871 census of England

From their marriage certificate, I know that on 5 July 1864, John VERNELL (the one I call John VERNELL #2) married Eleanor Anne CAMPBELL at the Parish Church in the Parish of Hackney. Both were under age. Usually a marriage certificate will give you either "of full age" or an exact age. This is the only one I've come across in my own research where both parties are under age, though I am not suggesting it's particularly rare.

In this case, although I cannot point to the statute or another legal authority setting the "full age" at 21, I am fairly sure that in 1864, that's what it was.

I can estimate that John and Eleanor Anne were born in approximately 1844, based on a guess that they were about 20 when they married. That means in the 1871 census, I will be looking for people who are no older than 27. However, it is best to be a little loose with the dates at first, and cast the net more broadly. That is experience talking!

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