ONS update – 1911 birthplaces and firstnames

There are now 241 Walnes indexed on my master sheet for the 1911 census. All of them were recorded with the surname ‘Walne’ on at least one census during their lifetime. In the case of 1911, they were all spelt that way across a total of 78 schedules. The total of 241 includes 117 men and 124 women. Where the women are concerned, 53 are wives or widows and therefore ‘married in’. The list does not include women in 1911 who were Walnes at birth but ‘married out’.

The northern contingent makes up 70% of the index. Just over half of those are male.

The southern contingent therefore makes up 30% of the index. 41% of those are male, and the remainder women. 

Birthplaces of Walnes in 1911 census

Birthplaces of Walnes in 1911 census

The map above shows the birth counties of those Walnes. Even compared to the location map in an earlier post, the map shows a tighter grouping. The data suggests once we move to earlier census records, even 20 years difference will continue the trend – all the Dorset born Walnes for example were born after 1898, the Leicestershire ones after 1903, the Sussex ones post 1894 and the Australian born sailors after 1889.

It is probably only of interest to me to have a look at the first name data, but here are a few observations anyway!

Men went by 33 different first names (one first name per 5.4 men), women by 52 (one first name per 2.4 women). This still seems to be the case today – people are more creative when it comes to the female of the species.   

Women's top tens: first names

Women’s top tens: first names

Unfortunately I haven’t yet found a reliable source of the most popular names in the 1911 census for the whole of England and Wales, but I suspect Mary and Elizabeth would have been right up there. 

The numbers are obviously very small and percentages potentially insignificant, but there do seem to be regional variations when it comes to first names. Florence and Frances, Ethel and Lucy were relatively popular with the southern ladies, but the first two weren’t represented at all along their northern counterparts. Annies and Janes are found in the north and not at all in the south. Mary and Elizabeth were much less popular among the East-Anglian-rooted Walnes (Mary: 11% of all women in the north and 5% in the south, Elizabeth 11% and 2%).

Some of the most unusual names are Alfreda and Mariota (south), and Dinah and Myra (north). These are among 29 names which appear only once.  

Men's first names: top tens

Men’s first names: top tens

Where men are concerned, Thomas is top of the tree everywhere. As a Norfolk Walne researcher for a very long term this is not at all surprising as the Thomases stretch over 500 years at a very high rate. The top men’s names are more closely clustered than the women’s with more than a third in the index called Thomas, John or Richard.

Again there are regional variations. The most popular names are generally even more popular in the northern counties with Walne populations. However, those with East Anglian roots buck the trend a little with George, Henry and Robert being particularly prevalent. They make up 24% of men in that group compared to just 8% elsewhere.

Other names with large variations across the ‘split’ are Richard (14% in the north, 3% in the south), Harry (8% in the north, zero in the south) and John (14% in the north, 7% in the south). You could argue perhaps that Harry and Henry should be counted together, and indeed at least two of the Henrys in East Anglia were sometimes known as Harry, but for this exercise I’ve gone with the transcription on the census.

The most unusual names for men include Rennie looking northwards and Basil, Randall and Russell looking south.

Next up: age profile and occupations.

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