On the second of May 2015 HRH Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge came into the world. Her birth was officially registered on the 5th of May and signed by her father William.
William, gave his occupation as that of Prince of the United Kingdom, and informed that his wife, Catherine Elizabeth, HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, was a Princess of the United Kingdom – people laughed at this! Is he the first to enter such a position as his occupation? I am not going to discuss his reasons, if it is correct in this day and age, even though one day he will be a King.
Lets have some fun looking around the census, birth entries and other records to see if others have done the same as William.
In the winter of 1841 Edward, son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was registered as Gotha being his family name and his first names being Prince of Wales – not a mention of Edward!
1851, the first census to give a place of birth other than ‘in county’, and we find Her Majesty Alexandria Victoria, wife, aged 31 and her occupation is ‘The Queen’. Her husband, HRH Francis Albert Augustus Charles Emanuel, head of the house, and his occupation is Duke of Saxony, Prince of Coburg and Gotha. Their children are also listed as having occupations as :- Princess Royal, Prince of Wales, Princes and Princesses, while Arthur William Patrick Albert aged 11 months is recorded as Prince of the United Kingdom, Duke of Saxony, Prince of Coburg and Gotha.
The census of 1881 is similar with Victoria’s occupation being Queen of Great Britain and Ireland and her children being Prince of Princesses. I must say this census return is rather untidily written to say who is the Head of the Household!
By 1911 King George was on the throne, his census has him as the Head of the Household, been married 17 years to Mary, his Queen and they had at the time six children, all who were alive at the time. His occupation, as with that of his wife’s is blank. Their sons, Princes Albert and Edward both give their occupation as being in the Royal Navy.
Also in 1911, the Duke of Northumberland, Harry George, aged 64, gave his personal occupation as Peer. The Duke of Buccleuch, was just entered as ‘Buccleuch’ with the later addition of ‘The Duke’ in parenthesis. His wife is listed as Peeress, while their son, Lord Herbert Scott is a Lieut. Col. in the 23rd London Regiment. A visitor at the time of the census, Lord Claud Hamilton, aged 68 gives his occupation as Member of Parliament.
While Edmund, Lord Faber, gave his occupation as Banker, being an old Etonian, and a senior partner in Becket’s Bank of Leeds and York. He was also a Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant of the West Riding of Yorkshire. Lord Stratheden aged 81, gave his occupation as that of private means.
Princess Elizabeth on her birth certificate is indexed as Windsor Elizabeth A M and her mother’s maiden name is Bowes-Lyon.
Queen Elizabeth II on her wedding certificate to Philip Mountbatten, her rank or profession is given as Princess of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, while he entered HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, KG.
It looks like it boils down to how you understand the question asked. To other generations the wording would be ‘your rank of profession’, while today it seems to be just ‘occupation’ as the wording on the certificates – but who asked the question of occupation and how was it asked! Simple questions but could mean a world of difference.
Giving an example of census questions asked by the enumerator. 1. Where are you from? 2. Where were you born? I suppose they could be classed as similar questions, but when rooting your your ancestor it could mean a world of difference. 1. Where are you from? Could be understood as ‘I’m from Methley’. The enumerator has an answer, he is happy. Ten years later our family member has moved and he now says he is from Sheffield, again the enumerator has an answer and he may now know the family, so he is happy with the answer.
2. Ten years have passed and the enumerator asks ‘where were you born’ and our head of the household says ‘Bradford’. Both questions could be understood as the same, but they could also mean something totally different.
It is not always how someone perceives themselves but how someone asks a relevant question.