Family Names

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

A to Z Challenge - C is for Census

Snippets from the life of Martha Sarah Ellis.

Martha was three months old at the time of the 1871 British Census. The Ellis family were living at 257 St George Road, Camberwell, London, England which is identified as household 266 on the 1871 Census.  Four lodgers have been identified at the same address.[1]

Census Household #266

1. Alec Lee Head M 31 London, Middlesex
2. Martha Lee Wife F 31 Chiddingstone, Kent
3. Alfred Lee Son M 5 London, Middlesex
4. Edward Lee Son M 3 London, Middlesex
5. Martha S Lee Daughter F 3 mths London, Middlesex

Also living at the same address were households 226a, 266b & 226c, indicating that they were lodgers in separate households, within the same dwelling. This sort of multi-occupancy was common, perhaps the family or the owners were subletting to earn extra income.

Household #266a Returned on 266 Sch
6. John Crabbe Lodger M 27 Herefordshire

Census Household #266b Returned on 266 Sch
7. Robert Hutill Lodger M 23 London, Middlesex
8. Thomas Hutill Lodger M 21 London, Middlesex

Census Household #266c Returned on 266 Sch
9. Benjamin Uks Lodger M 21 Birmingham

By the 1881 British Census the family were living in household 197 with a total of 8 people in the family home at 245 St Georges Rd., including the 2 lodgers.[2] 

1. Martha’s father Alfred Lee a widow whose occupation was a  Boot Maker  
2. Martha Lee aged 10, still at school
3. Kate Lee, Martha’s sister aged 9 and still at school 
4. Charles Lee, Martha’s brother aged 7, Scholar
5. Walter Lee, Martha’s brother aged 5, Scholar  
6. Frederick Lee, Martha’s brother aged 4,  Scholar 
7. Albert COATES, Lodger, aged 19,  and a Boot Maker possibly her father’s apprentice
8. George BUTCHER, Lodger, aged 47, who worked as a Dock Labourer possibly somewhere close by on the Grand Surrey Canal, which ran behind the house.

In my previous post in the Challenge A is for Addresses  I went to great lengths to establish where the family were living and when.  The reason behind such detailed reconnoitring was to establish beyond reasonable doubt that the Lee and Ellis families were the same.  The family’s unexplained change of surname is yet to be fully understood, although many theories abound.  My conclusion is that all members of the Ellis were known by the surname Lee in both 1871 and 1881 censuses.

To Read more about Martha's life for articles previously posted for the A to Z Challenges click the Letters below:-
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z


[1] 1871 census of England, London, Surrey, Enumeration District : 19 - St George Road, Camberwell, London, England, folio 130, page 47, Alec Lee head of household; digital images, brightsolid online publishing ltd, Findmypast ( : accessed 29 Jan 2017); citing PRO RG10/739
[2] 1881 census of England, Camberwell, (Boot Shop) 245 St Georges Rd, Camberwell, London, England, folio 21, page 35, Household of Alfred Lee widowed bootmaker; digital images, Ancestry ( : accessed 30 Jan 2017); citing PRO RG 11/698


  1. I have been searching Census records in England for some of my ancestors and find it so frustrating when they are missing. They should be there and they are not!!! Please check out my Fact or Fiction-Family History at CURRY

  2. My mom had done some research on our family, and I always find the census information fascinating. Looking forward to seeing what else you find.

  3. Amazing.. I guess I should do this, because I certainly feel like I have no history!

    Thanks for this post!

  4. My mum is well into her family history and having a great time searching for our ancestors

    Absolutely Amazing Alliteration

  5. I've tried to do research on my family. Imagine my shock when I saw on a 1930 census that Uncle Andy is listed as a step-son. Have no idea what the story behind that is and no one around who can answer anymore.

  6. I'm used to my immigrant ancestors changing their names during naturalization. But this name change is an interesting ancestral mystery. Congratulations on excellent sleuthing work to narrow down and identify this family.

  7. Oh wow...Sandra isn't that interesting. I wonder why? At first I thought maybe Lee was a Chinese name and they were looking for an English name but when I look up Lee in the Penguin Dictionary of surnames it says it is the 47th most common name in England - originally from Leah...hmmm

    1. I'm sure they were hiding from something. It's interesting to me that other than the oldest child, none of the others were baptised until after their mother died, then they were all baptised using Ellis soon after she died. Why? Always a good question. It does look as though it could be related to Martha's mother but then that might just be a coincidence. I'm sure I'll find something eventfully.....

  8. Sandra...this is still bugging me (the change of name I mean). In case you hadn't seen it, I thought I would mention that there is an article on why ancestors may have changed their names in Issue 6 of the Discovering Your Ancestors magazine by Paul Matthews. If your ancestors recorded their change of name formally (which Matthews indicates is unlikely) you can check the National Archives guide here

    1. Thanks Alex, I will have to check that article out!

  9. Let's try that link again - sorry

  10. The Index to changes of names 1760-1901 for UK and Ireland / by W.P. Phillimore and Edward Alex. Fry is available at State Library of Queensland and State Library of Western Australia according to Trove. I shall shut up now. Got that out of my system :)

    1. Glad to hear that it's not going to keep you up all night. The best thing about having a blog is getting ideas from others so thanks for sharing, cheers Sandra


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