Today the 1921 census of England and Wales was released. It’s the first one that includes my great-grandmother, Marie Louise Courtenay. I had already found her birth record by paging through hundreds of civil status records. I also had to find documents such as her parent’s marriage records before I was able to track down her birth. If I hadn’t already done all of that, I would have found out today that Marie was born in Brussels.
Here’s the record for the household that she was in:
As is often the case, her birth year is off, making her appear five years younger on the census. I’m a bit surprised that she’s listed as “British Born.” I can only imagine that her father had that status and that he got it through his parents, who were both actually born in England (one as an émigré and the other as his servant).
One piece of information that’s hard to accept concerns Marie’s status as married. The census was taken 19 June 1921. Marie didn’t know that her husband would die 22 days later while swimming in a river in Bray-sur-Somme, France. Their six month old son is with her.
I’m also a bit surprised that she’s lodging, as as couple of years later she owned her homes without any known reason for her condition to have improved. Maybe it took a while for a pension to start coming after her father’s death around 1914. I have no evidence that she received a pension, but I know that her 2nd husband, my great-grandfather, was later only able to vote in some elections because of Marie’s status as a homeowner.
By the way, if you’re looking for the address of a census return that you’ve paid for, it’s kind of hard to find. While still looking at the image on FindMyPast, click on “Open filmstrip at the bottom right. Then click on the “Extra materials” icon near the bottom. Five options for extra materials will show up beneath that. Click on “Front,” and you’ll be taken to the front page for the household of interest. Marie Courtenay was living at 27 Oakley Crescent in Chelsea, London, which was the same place she lived at with her husband over a year earlier.
Also listed on the census is her mother, Marie Courtenay (née Lebègue). Her age has only decreased by three years here. I would’ve found out that she was born in Fourmies, France if I hadn’t already done all of that research.
The whole fascinating story about this family can be found here.
I had waited a long time for this to come out. Since I wanted the answers to my questions, I had already found out most of the information. But there will be a lot of other cases in which this census will be invaluable to me others. And it will be the most recent census we have for a long time. As there was no 1931 or 1941 census, the next one will presumably be available in 2052.
I hope that you’re able to find answers to your questions now that the 1921 census has been released. I also look forward to the time when it’s available via subscription, and especially when we can get it for free at FamilySearch.
If you had access to the most accurate, free, relationship predictor, would you use it? Feel free to ask a question or leave a comment. And make sure to check out these ranges of shared DNA percentages or shared centiMorgans, which are the only published values that match peer-reviewed standard deviations. Or, try a tool that lets you find the amount of an ancestor’s DNA you cover when combining multiple kits. I also have some older articles that are only on Medium.