The National Census of England and Wales began in 1801 but it was not until 1841 that the individual names of all citizens were recorded. The available records are are actually Census Enumerators' Books (CEB) transcribed from the returned schedules. Some of the records are difficult to read, either due to poor reproduction, tricky copper-plate script or censors marks. And of course there were plenty of opportunities for errors in recording and transcription. One particular problem is that it is often not possible to correlate locations with modern addresses. In that respect it is worth knowing that a single slash (/) in the left column of a CEB page separates households and a double slash (//) separates buildings.

Family Bible

The 1841 Census

To follow the owners of my Family Bible through the Census records it seems most appropriate to begin in 1841 and follow the fortunes of the family members through the Victorian era. This particular census return is wonderfully informative on the location of the the family of Isaac Ford (1800-1861). He is to be found occupying a single building in Stadmorslow between Lower Stadmorslow Farm and Upper Stadmorslow Farm [written as Stadmores Law]. The Wolstanton Parish Titthe map of 1840 shows that Isaac Ford was a tenant of Ralph Sneyd Esq. in the cottage adjacent to the lane between the two farms, labeled 721 on the adjacent map (the number from the Tithe Schedule). The 1840 map shows a second cottage (720) a little further from the road and that also appears in the 1841 Census. The entries for Isaac Ford's family are as follows:

Extract from the 1841 Census
Name Age Profession Born in same county
Isaac Ford 40 Stome M[ason] N
Mary do 35   Y
Enoch 13 Ag Lab Y
Thomas 11months   Y

In the 1841 Census the Enumerators were required to round down to the nearest five years the ages of persons over 15 (although some did not). So most adult ages appear as multiples of five years. The last column indicates whether the person was born in the same county. In this case Isaac Ford was not, later evidence indicates he was born in Lawton Parish, Cheshire. So what happened to the other children of Isaac Ford mentioned in the Bible?

Lionel [Foard] is living as one of a group of Servants at Shieldscroft, Norton in the Moors. Hannah might have been the Female Servant, aged 15, at Ashley Rectory, near Loggerheads, Staffordshire, about 16 miles from Stadmorslow. All the adult ages on this record are rounded down. Parish records indicate that Edna, the first Thomas and Mary had all died in infancy before the 1841 Census.

The 1851 Census

In1851 Isaac Ford and family are still resident in Stadmorslow and this Census records a little more information:

Extract from the 1851 Census for Isaac Ford of Stadmorslow
Name Relation Married Age Profession Where born
Isaac Ford Head Mar 50 Collier Cheshire
Mary do Wife   49 Employed in Home Staffodsh Smow?
Thomas do Son ~ 11 At school Staffordsh Stadmore Lane?
John do Son   7 At school Stafordsh. Stadmorslow
Maria do Dau   5 At school do
Hanah Hancock Mary's mother Widow 72 Retir'd at Home do Biddulph

This entry is quite difficult to read, particularly the birth place of Thomas. However, it does give us Mary's maiden name. The appearance of Maria is intriguing! She is not mentioned in the Family Bible as a sibling of Thomas and, according to JJ she was the illegitimate daughter of Hannah Ford and Samuel Boughey, Hannah was only 18 when Maria was born. In 1851 there was a Hannah Ford aged 26, House Servant to Hannah Locket (55) and her son Wm [William] (22) at Marsh Green, Biddulph, only about two miles from Stadmorslow. Lionel Ford is recorded as a Servant at Ridgeway Hall, Norton in the Moors. Enoch Ford is recorded as a Farm Servant in the home of Thomas Holdcroft, farmer, at Stadmorslow.

The 1861 Census

The CEB for 1861 lists Isaac Ford's family two houses away from Upper Stadmorslow Farm, almost certainly the same house occupied since 1841, but now described as Wain Lee.

The family of Isaac Ford in the 1861 Census"
Name Relation Married Age Profession Where born
Isaac Ford Head Mar 60 Ag Lab Cheshire Lawton
Mary '' wife '' 59'   Staff Mow Cop
Hannah '' dau Un 36   Staff Whitehill
Enoch son '' 32 do do '' ''
Thomas Ford son Un 20 Blacksmith Staff Stadmorslow
John '' '' '' 16 Ag Lab '' ''
Henry Grandson   7   '' ''

At this time, none of Isaac Ford's children are married, although he has another grandson, presumably another child of Hannah. It seems that Service is a hazardous occupation! Maria Ford, who appeared in the 1851 Census, is recorded as a House Servant in the home of Henry Sutton of Newchapel. Parish records indicate that Lionel Ford died in 1858.

The 1871 Census

Isaac Ford had passed away by the time of the 1871 Census. Thomas and John are both married and occupying adjacent houses listed as Cottage #8 and #9 at Mow Cop in the Civil Parish of Stadmorslow.

Extract of the 1871 Census for Thomas Ford
Name Relation Married Age Profession Where born
Thos Ford Head Mar 30 Blacksmith Staffordsh Stadmorslow
Rose do Wife Mar 24   Cheshire Alderley
Mary do Dau   12days   Staffordsh Harriseahead
Mary do Mother W 70   do Mow Cop
Extract from the 1871 Census for John Ford
Name Relation Married Age Profession Where born
John Ford Head Mar 26 Labourer Staffordsh Wolstanton
Hannah do Wife Mar 22   do ''
Sarah Ann Ford Dau   2   Cheshire Congleton

Enoch, the eldest surviving son, is still living at Wain Lee in Cottage #116 a couple of houses away from Farm House #113. Presumably this is the same house as occupied by Isaac's family since before 1841.

Extract from the 1871 Census for Enoch Ford
Name Relation Married Age Profession Where born
Enoch Ford Head Mar 42 Lab in Ironstone Staffords Whitehill
Emma do Wife Mar 32   do Norton
Helena J do Dau   6   do Stadmorslow
Emma do Dau   4   do do
Mary do Dau   1   do do

There is no sign of Hannah in the 1871 Census, but a Hannah Ford married a George Williams of Wedgwood in 1872 and they turn up again in 1881. George has children but no wife in 1871, and as Wedgwood is less than a mile from Stadmorslow it seems likely that this is the wayward Hannah mentioned in the Family Bible. There is no sign of Hannah's duaghter Maria either. However, according to JJ, later in 1871 Maria had an illegitimate son Isiah at Horton. And Henry? He was living as a boarder with Ann Ford, a Servant in the home of George Powell at Harriseahead #4. Just a few doors away at #1 were Thomas Ford (50) and his wife Ann (58), Grocer and Beer Seller.

The 1881 Census

The people listed in the 1881 census are coming within living memory: my grandfather made his debut, and my brother remembers him using his moustache for tickling! Thomas Ford the Blacksmith is now listed at Harriseahead #78 in the hamlet of Stadmorslow.

Extract from the 1881 Census for Thomas Ford 1840-1844
Name Relation Married Age Profession Where born
Thomas Ford Head Mar 40 Blacksmith Wolstanton ''[Staffordsh]
Rose '' Wife '' 33   Alderley Cheshire
Mary Ford Dau   10   Wolstanton Staffs
Edna '' Dau   8   '' ''
Thomas Son   6   '' ''
Hannah Dau   1   Odd Rode Cheshire

John Ford is also living at Harriseahead (Buckramrow) with his wife Hannah and children Sarah Ann, James and John H. He is now a Stone Miner. The elder brother Enoch Ford is still at Stadmorslow, working as a Colliery Labourer (Miner). His wife Emma has died: there is a tombstone in Newchapel churchyard gives the date as June 20, 1877, aged 39. There is also a daughter, Margaret Lawrence, 12/11/1874-24/12/1876.

Hannah Ford, Thomas Ford's elder sister, appears to have married George Williams and is living with his family in Thomas Street, Wedgwood, now known as Packmoor. There is no trace of Maria or her son Isaiah. However, there is a Henry Ford (27) living at 17 Bank Street, Tunstall with his wife Emily (20), daughter Maria B. and mother-in-law Fanny Jones. Henry is a Carter, the same profession as his mother's husband George.

The 1891 Census

A decade is a short time in a family history. The Family Bible recorded the death of Rose, Thomas Ford's wife, his second marriage to Elizabeth, the birth of two children and his own death, all in the space of two years. So the Bible passed to my grandfather, also Thomas Ford. In 1891 he was living with his stepmother at Harriseahead #63.

Extract of the 1891 Census for Thomas Ford, 1874-1946
Name Relation Married Age Profession Where born
Elizabeth Ford Head Wid ??   Staffs Gratton
Thomas do Son S 16 Coal Miner Waggoner do Wolstanton
Harriet do Dau   8 Scholar do do
William A do Son   4 Scholar do do

Thomas Ford's family were just four doors away from another completely unrelated Ford family: John (45), his wife Charlotte (41) and son Joseph (19).

Thomas Ford's uncle John is now a widower, recorded as an Ironstone Loader living at Sands, just along the road from Thomas. His children, Sarah, James and John are still living at home. Next door but one, Hannah Ford, Thomas Ford's sister, is living with her uncle George Powell, a Forgeman, brother of Rose.

Enoch Ford is living at Birches Row, Harriseahead with his daughter Emma and son William. The entries are on the same page as Stonetrough and Hollin's House [find out more about Birches Row].

Edna Ford may be the Servant recorded as living in the home of John and Martha Taylor at Harriseahead. There is no trace of Maria Ford or Henry Ford, but the latter will be back with a new family in 1901.

The 1901 Census

Thomas Ford has come of age since the last Census, and he is married and living with his mother-in-law at 24 Tunstall Road Biddulph (many Census returns now contain modern addresses).

Data from the 1901 Census for Thomas Ford
Name Relation Married Age Profession Employer, Worker or Own account If Working at Home Where born
Mehetabel Stubbs Head Wid 64 Living on own means     Ches Bre[re]ton Heath
Hannah M '' dau S 26 Dressmaker own account at home Staffs Biddulph
Sarah A '' '' S 17 Chain Maker worker   '' ''
Annie E Ford '' M 28       '' ''
Thomas '' son-in-law M 26 Coal Miner (hewer) worker   '' Harriseahead

Elizabeth Ford (51), Thomas Ford's stepmother is living at 19 High Street, Harriseahead with her son Arthur Ford (17), an Underground Waggoner. Harriet (18), her elder child, is a servant in the home of William and Elizabeth Patey at 22, Greengates Street, Tunstall. Edna and Hannah Ford, Thomas Ford's sisters are living at 4 Biddulph Road with their uncle, George Powell.

Uncle Enoch (73) is a retired Labourer living at 36 High Street, Harriseahead with his daughter Emma (34), a Housekeeper, and son W. Isaac (23), a Coach Painter. At 46 High Street Uncle John (56), a Forge Labourer, is living with his new wife Adelaide (56).

Aunt Hannah Williams and her family have disappeard, presumably having died. There is no trace of her daughter Maria who would have been 56 at this time. However, Maria's son Isaiah Ford (29) is to be found living with his wife Hannah (24) and children Isaiah (4), Mary E, (3) and Minnie (1) at Norton in the Moors. Hannah's son Henry (47), a Horse Cart?? driver for delivering sewing machines, is living at 15 Bank Street, Tunstall with his second wife Minnie (33), son Frederick H (18) a Plumber's Apprentice, his step-daughter Florence Taylor (13) and his son Arthur H (3).


The Census returns reveal a picture of a family of largely Agricultural Labourers and Miners living through the industrialisation of a previously rural environment. They did not move around much: a circle with a radius of one mile centred on Harriseahead would cover the dwelling places of most of the those mentioned in the Family Bible for a hundred years.