News of the release of the redacted sections of the 1911 census came at just the right time, while I was gathering information to use in a short Family History slot on BBC Radio Devon. A quick trawl through my own family’s 1911 images revealed no infirmities, so I was pleased to see items in the press and in Nick Barratt’s January 6th blog mentioning a “stinking proud” daughter – ideal!

However, looking at the image for Richard Woodward in Avon Road, Highbury, Islington (RG 14 Piece 985), I noticed that both descriptions “Feeble Minded & Stinking Proud” probably referred to Richard’s wife, who was called….Wife Abducted! His daughter? No name, but also “abducted”. The enumerator put a line through “& Stinking Proud” but accepted Richard’s description of his unnamed wife as feeble minded.

A quick search of the 1891 and 1901 censuses and FreeBMD revealed Mrs Woodward as Blanche and their daughter Maud. Richard Woodward married Blanche Emily Creasy in the June Quarter 1890 and Maud, their only child, was born a respectable 9 -12 months after the marriage (June Quarter 1891), so not in the same year, as it might appear from Richard’s 1911 entry.

What was going on? Was Richard a deserted husband? Had his wife and daughter really been abducted? Was he feeling hard done by, or simply completing the 1911 form with his tongue very firmly in his cheek? Richard was in his mid 30s when he married Blanche, who was 13/14 years his junior. Perhaps Blanche had found herself a toy boy?

Searching FMP for the “abducted” wife and daughter revealed that they were with their Creasy relatives on census night in 1911 at High St, Hadlow, Tonbridge, Kent (RG 14 Piece 4087). 20 year old Maud was easily found, but Blanche Woodward was incorrectly indexed as Creasy (correction sent to FMP).

A W CREASY HeadMarried54GrocerKent Margate
Ellen CREASYWifeMarried6 years41Kent Hadlow
Harold CREASYSonMarried2 years28Grocer AssistantKent Hadlow
Blanche WOODWARDSisterMarried22 years43Kent Margate
Maude WOODWARDNieceSingle20London Highbury

Ellen (nee Pine) was Arthur’s second wife. His first wife Susannah (mother of Harold) was alone in 1901 (RG13/759) and died later that year. Husband Arthur was not positively identified in 1901.

But what’s that faint pencilled note below the family listing on the Creasy 1911 census image? It appears to have been written by the enumerator and says “No. 3 Harold Creasy apart from wife”.

Harold’s wife Mary Eldridge Creasy (nee Simpson) and her son, 9 month old Arthur Harold John, were staying at 29 Duckett Road, Hornsey, with Mary’s parents. (RG14 Piece 7194).

So …. abducted Blanche and Maud were just visiting…… weren’t they?

Guest Post by Maureen Selley, Chairman Devon FHS

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