My Tangent – 1841 Census Search – GGG-Grandparents Thomas and Agnes Robertson in Barony, Scotland – And I Had To Get This Off My Chest!

08 October 2011

Good Day,

In my search and research of my ancestry and genealogy I always attempt to gather as much as I can get and find out about each individual. I am not in a numbers’ game in order to fill the slots in my genealogy database. No one yet has told or taught me that there is some prize for the most number of genealogy data records.

I try to understand what made me who I am today; what piece of each ancestor is a key to the wherefores and whys of my talents and idiosyncrasies. A Genealogy Hunt is an example of my means of one way that I attempt to recreate my ancestors’ lives through my journaling and writing. Thank you Debra, and Mr. Patterson at Stanstead College.

Following from their 1804 Marriage in Glasgow, I believe I have discovered my maternal ggg-grandparents Thomas and Agnes (née Miller) Robertson’s place in the 1841 Scotland Census.

The 1841 Scotland Census was taken on the night of 6 June 1841. Based on my calculations ggg-grandfather Thomas, who was born 29 June 1780, should have been 60 years, 11 months, and 7 days old on the night of the Census.

Entering into a Census search, on Ancestry.co.uk, the exact name “Thomas Robertson”, the exact birth year “1780”, and the keyword “Scotland” and restricting the Ancestry search engine to a Collection Priority – “UK and Irish”, I get only three returns. The returned records are two of the 1861 Scotland Census and one for the US Federal Mortality Schedules Index. All three are incorrect.

I then edit my search parameters and uncheck the “Birth – Exact Only” box. 945 possible records are now a result of my search. That’s more like it… but that is still 945 records to peruse. It takes about 10 seconds to review each record without actually opening the record. That is, I can pull up a small window, thanks to Ancestry, on each record which will give me the indexed data as entered by Ancestry.com from the actual Census. Based on the speed of my own PC system it then takes an additional 10 seconds to open a good and viewable image of the actual Census page.

20 seconds does not appear to be much time, but when there are 945 Census records for a Thomas Robertson born about 1780 in Scotland, I calculate that it will take approximately 5 hours and 15 minutes to review each record. But of course, that is, if ggg-grandfather Thomas’ entry is the 945th one.

Okay I want to narrow my search field to the category of the 1841 Scotland Census. The review time is now down to about 9 minutes. The first 12 records are a no-go. On the 13th I notice that the Birthplace is Scotland without a mention of a County or Shire. When I move my cursor and click on the link to “View Record”, I am informed that there are two Household Members: “Thomas Robertson, Age 60” and “Agness Robertson, Age 60”.

The Civil Parish provided is “Barony”; the County – “Lanarkshire”; and the Address – “Drygate Lole”. But here is the problem there is no current relationship between Ancestry.uk.co and the General Register Office in Scotland. Hence there is no image, provided by Ancestry of the actual 1841 Census page.

I then go to Findmypast.co.uk and do a search for ggg-grandfather Thomas Robertson. I locate similar information and once again there is no image. There is a notation that “The original census images are available to view on the ScotslandPeople website.” Oh, and by the way the address presented by Findmypast is “Drygate Toll, Barony”.

Next on to ScotlandsPeople.gov.uk. I have annual subscriptions to Ancestry and Findmypast, but ScotslandPeople requires purchases of a set number of one-year-limited credits to view each Index and each Image. My preference would be to subscribe with an annual membership.

To look up an Index entry and an image on ScotlandsPeople does cost a minimum of approximately $2.25USD; £1.40GBP; €1.6EUR. This does mean that one is limited to the type of search one can do, especially if one does not have all the search details and criteria beforehand. Financially, it also does limit an overall surname search, especially if one’s surnames are Robertson or Smith, and one’s pockets are not that deep.

On a quick calculation, and if I did not have some of the search elements available, and not including my membership dues at both Ancestry and Findmypast, ScotlandsPeople has 36 Thomas Robertsons listed in Barony, Glasgow, Lanark, Scotland on the 1841 Scotland Census. To review all would cost approximately $81.00USD; £50.40GBP; or €57.60EUR… Can anyone tell me the equivalent electronic phrase for “Highway Robbery”? “Internet Mugging”?

There is an alternate method of searching the 1841 Scotland Census for Barony. The Family History Library in Salt Lake City does have 204 microfilm reels referencing the Scotland Censuses. Seven would be specific to my search of the page which specifically contains the enumeration of ggg-grandfather Thomas Robertson. Based on the costs for deliveries to my local Family History Center, at $5.50 for a 90-days borrowing period, my outlay would be $38.50USD.

This is obviously about half of the cost for a single name search of ggg-grandfather Thomas in Barony as levied by ScotlandsPeople.gov.uk, exclusive of my pro-rated costs for Ancestry.co.uk and Findmypast.co.uk. And further at least I would have a term of 90-days to do a Robertson search specific to other and possible members and siblings of my ggg-grandfather Thomas Robertson.

I am aghast… but I am obsessed.

And just a quick note. Check out the extensions of Ancestry, Findmypast, and ScotlandsPeople. Which one has a blatant "gov.uk", albeit governmental entity or agency, extension?

My next Post will be the 1841 Scotland Census information regarding ggg-grandfather Thomas Robertson.

Enjoy,

Jim

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