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18 September 2014
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Two households in Coundon, County Durham

Explore the census entries for two households living in Coundon in County Durham in 1851. Compare their places of birth, their relations to the head of household and occupations by selecting the different features. Discover how to interpret this information and what the data can reveal.

The Coopers The Garthwaites
John Cooper head married 44   potter Derbyshire, Chesterfield
Charlotte Cooper wife married 39   Derbyshire, Dronfield
Edward Cooper dau 11   Yorkshire, Bradford
George Cooper son 10   scholar Yorkshire, Leeds
Louisa Cooper dau 7   Durham, Thickley
Charles Cooper son 5   Durham, Coundon
Mary Jane Cooper dau 3   Durham, Coundon
Charlotte Cooper dau 1   at home Durham, Coundon
Henry Kay brother unmarr 15   house servant Derbyshire, Chesterfield
William Hardy visitor widower 55   late potter Derbyshire, Chesterfield
John Sproats lodger unmarr 24   carrier Durham, St Andrew Auckland
Henry Sanderson servant unmarr 28   basket maker Yorkshire, Great Driffield
name and marital status relation to head of household age occupation place of birth
The Cooper parents are younger than the Garthwaites and the family is smaller - 'only' six children living at home. The eldest is only 11, suggesting that the Coopers might not have married until significantly later than the Garthwaites. We can look at this family in a different way, combining the information about birth and age - the parents came from Derbyshire, but moved to Bradford in Yorkshire by 1840, when the first child was born. In the following year they were in Leeds. By 1844, the family had moved to Thickley in County Durham and in 1846 had gone to Coundon to work at the pottery. We therefore have a reasonably detailed account of the family's movements and could seek local records in each place to confirm and support the outline which the census gives.
Looking closer
The census returns give the age of each individual in years (or months or weeks for small babies). The information about age can be used in a variety of ways in local history analysis. Apart from analysing the 'age composition' of each household, we can look at the community as a whole and ask questions about the proportions of, for example, elderly people or children. We can also cross-reference the information about age with the other details, such as occupation: did children go to school, what age did they start work, what work did young people do? Education was not compulsory until 1870, but in the 1850s, most children stayed at home. In this particular area, levels of literacy were particularly low.
Local History
Getting Started
Industry: Canney Hill Pottery
Landscape: Thriplow
Village: Freckleton
City: Coventry

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