Friday, 25 December 2009

Claytons in the 1901 Census

The 1901 census records the family of Thomas and Emma Clayton living at 73 Mount Street in the parish of St Clement in the East Division of Birmingham. Thomas stated that he was 59, a blacksmith born in Wolverhampton. His wife Emma Clayton was 56 at the time of the census.

What is interesting about the 1901 census is the occurrence of new names in the Clayton family. Also recorded in the household at 73 Mount Street were:

Francis Clayton aged 21, a bricklayers labourer born in Birmingham and recorded as the son of Thomas and Emma.

Samuel Clayton, another son born in Birmingham, aged 9. Frederick Geenes, a grandson born in Birmingham, aged 14. Francis Clayton, another grandson born in Birmingham, aged 3.

It seemed strange that no one in the family recalled the son Francis, who would therefore have been great -granddad Clayton’s younger brother. Especially as there are such clear memories of his other brothers, Alf, Fred and Samuel. Albert Clayton, the grandson of Alf, has recently mentioned to me that his grandfather had a brother named Frank who may have gone to the Klondyke with Alfred and Frederick around this time. There is no sign of either Fred or Alf in the 1901 census in the UK.

I believe that there must be an error in the recording of the other son Samuel, aged 9, in this census. We already know that great granddad’s brother Samuel was born much earlier, he is recorded in the 1881 census and there is a birth index record for his birth in 1871, which would make him about 30 years old in 1901.

We know that Samuel did not die early, because my father Geoff remembers seeing him at granddad Clayton’s funeral many years later - so it is extremely unlikely that Thomas and Emma would name two of their sons Samuel. We can therefore speculate that the 9 year old Samuel recorded in the 1901 census was therefore a grandson, not a son. Could he have been the son of Samuel senior who was in prison at the time of the census?

The other two boys named in the 1901 census, Frederick Geenes and Francis Clayton were also new names in my own research. However, new information has recently thrown light on who, at least one of these children might have been.

It should be noted here that Mount Street was also the address given by Alfred Clayton on his marriage certificate in 1899.

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