Wednesday, 30 March 2011


Recently completing the census form reminded my of the hours which I've spent looking at old census records to trace my ancestors.

Back in Victorian times there were only a few questions to answer which were basically your name, your age, your job and whether or not you were an imbecile.

Apparently in the last census, a number of people declared their religion as Jedi from the Star Wars series. They were joking of course but in Victorian times, declaring yourself to be Batman wouldn't have raised an eyebrow. It would simply mean that you were an aide to an army officer. Likewise, stating that you were Vulcan, (the Roman god of war), would inform the world that you were a blacksmith by trade.

There was a much wider range of occupations back in 1891 when the census was completed as listed here. Some of these sounded very strange. A Schrimpschonger for instance was someone who carved in bone or ivory. A Qwylwryghte was just a weird spelling for a wheelwright.

Some were not what they sounded like. A drummer for instance, was not an ancestor of Ringo Starr but was a travelling salesman. A streaker did not strip off and then do a runner but instead they stripped off a dead body to prepare them for burial. The bogie man didn't go around scaring small children but actually shoved wagons around by coal mines.

Then there were the just plain funny names. A knockknobbler was a dog catcher. What do you imagine a Badgy Fiddler was? I bet you didn't come up with him being a boy trumpeter in the military. How about a Slubber Doffer? I'l put you out of your misery. It was a person who removed bobbins from spindles on a loom.

I'll leave you with one to investigate. What was a Vaginarius? I can tell you that what he did had nothing to do with ladies bits.

No comments:

Post a Comment