State, for each Married Woman entered on this schedule, the number of:-
Completed years the present marriage has lasted
Total children born alive to the present marriage
Children still living
Children who have died
Well, that doesn't sound too complicated, does it? Think again!
In days gone by there were fewer official government documents for the ordinary person to complete, and even if literacy was not a concern any such form was still A Big Deal. Little wonder that when faced with the UK 1911 household census form stress levels rose and panic ensued as people tried to complete the form but didn't quite manage to follow the instructions. At least, that's all I can put this kind of thing down to:
I noticed that residents of my one-place study place of Wing in Buckinghamshire invariably got this wrong so did a formal review of the schedules, and of 332 married couples:
27% - Gold Star - entered correctly the first time
41% - So Close - originally entered for husband then error corrected and details transferred to wife
21% - No Women's Suffrage Here - details entered for husband rather than wife
11% - Goodness This Is Confusing - a mix, either years married for husband and children for wife or vice versa
I also give a big thank you to these women and men who provided marriage and fertility information even though this wasn't required - 33 widows, 6 widowers and 5 unmarried with children. I'm never going to argue with being given extra information, and these might be vital clues. I'm thankful that we do get to see the original schedules and can see that crossed-out information - and my enumerator seemed to feel that a married woman does not earn that status unless her husband happens to be with her on census night, and has accordingly crossed out all marriage/fertility details for women falling into that category as well.
How successful were your place's residents in following census instructions? Any other common errors you've spotted?