Part 73r - 1871 Great-Grandaunt Agnes Robertson Is Now 30 - A Bonnet Maker

25 September 2009


It's 1871, and following up from Part 72r, great-grandaunt Agnes is still a part of the Robertson household at 11 Parr Street. And here's where I get a bit confused as to how to refer to the exact location of the residence. The 1871 Census enumerates the Road, Street, &c., and No. or Name of House at 11 Parr St., but it's the overlying...
  • Civil Parish [or Township] - St. Leonard, Shoreditch, and/or
  • Municipal Ward of - Wenlock, and/or
  • Parliamentary Borough of - Hackney, and/or
  • Ecclesiastical District of - Christ Church, Hoxton,

This befuddles me. How would I address an envelope if I wanted to send great-grandaunt Agnes a letter? And where does the city and/or county of London, and/or the county of Middlesex enter the picture? It gets even more confusing in 2009 when I try to enter the information into a fixed genealogy database wizard. There's just not enough data entry points or labels.

And just some thoughts and observations of the 1871 England Census page.

1871 England Census
Source - The National Archives, London, England and

Great-great-grandfather John, now 65 years old has changed his occupation. He is now a "Porter in Warehouse". Great-grandaunt Agnes' has continued to be a "Bonnet Maker", while it appears that great-granduncle Thomas and great-grandfather Alexander are out of school and have become a "Cabinet maker" and "Clerk", respectively. Great-granduncle William is no longer at home, and currently I have not been able to track him down any further. And I've sort of given up on looking for great-grandaunt Agnes' older sister, great-grandaunt Margaret Ann.

Being a would-be statistician and always curious I wondered about great-grandaunt Agnes' calling as a "Bonnet Maker" in 1861, (right insert 1860 Bonettas), and 1871, (left insert Peterson's Walking Dress and Bonnet, 1870). My first thought was to start searching the Internet with possible reference to Bonnet Makers and Bonnet Making in the 19th Century.

At a site "The Victorian Web" I thought I had had pay-dirt with some information that had been "compiled from Parliamentary Papers 1852-3, 1863, and 1873". I immediately scanned for "Bonnet Maker", and or something similar, and I discovered that the numbers for Bonnet Makers did not exist for 1871. The results for "Straw hat and bonnet maker" were "1851 - 21,901"; "1861 - 18,176"; and "1871 - ---".

Well, I guess you can't always believe everything you find on the Internet... Or is it, you can't always believe in every statistic pulled together from governmental sources? I know this is at least one... Great-grandaunt Agnes Robertson. From the 1871 England Census, supposedly the same source for this occupation number study, I read "Agnes do (Robertson) - Bonnet maker". Enough said!

And to continue, my search and research of my aunts named Agnes, who are at various points of my collateral lines, have given me the opportunity to find new data and information on other family members and of my Robertson blood line. Just last night I was surprised at the new documentation I chanced upon.

More to come.




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