24 August 2015

#52Ancestors - Week 34 - Non-Population

Week 34 (August 20-26) – Non-Population: While we’re on the subject of special census schedules, have you found an ancestor on a non-population census — agriculture, industry, manufactures, or 1890 Union veterans? Tell us about him or her.

I know you've heard the phrase "I only buy it for the articles" in relation to a particular type of men's magazine - well I don't buy those sorts of magazines, but I did used to use the phrase to justify my rather expensive habit of buying every UK Family History type magazine that found its way to my local newsagent here in Sydney, Australia.

I used them as "self-help" tools for learning how to research my own family's story by reading what others had done - but what I didn't expect to find was much useful information on the CDs that often came attached to the outside of the magazines - I mean, how much use would I get from the 1851 census of Western Surrey, some of the Quarter sessions from Wiltshire or from a tool to create historical greeting cards?

So I didn't hold out much hope when the January 2011 Family Tree magazine came with a CD that included Kelly's 1894 Directory of Durham

In the UK, one of the best non-population census records to find ancestors in business in is known as Kelly's Directory. According to Wikipedia, it was a trade directory in the United Kingdom that listed all businesses and tradespeople in a particular city or town, as well as a general directory of postal addresses of local gentry, landowners, charities, and other facilities. In effect, it was a Victorian version of today's Yellow Pages Many reference libraries still keep their copies of these directories, which are now an important source for historical research.

But I hit 3 "home runs" when I opened the document up:

On the CD I found my great grandfather, Nicholas Stuart Dobson in his Hairdresser shop at 5 Hendon Road, Sunderland 

Kelly's directory of Durham 1894 page 384

You can still see some of those streets on a current map of Sunderland, though of course the whole area has been redeveloped in the 100+ years since the directory was created

Finding Nicholas Dobson was exciting enough, but I also found his mother, Ellen Dobson (she of many names) running the George Hotel AND his uncle John Graham Dobson listed as a beer retailer:

Kelly's directory of Durham 1894 page 428

I already knew my g-g-grandmother was occasionally a publican and that John Graham Dobson was a beer retailer from census records - but it was great to have these things confirmed between the censuses too.

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