The 1911 census records became available online today. My first search was for the family of my paternal grandfather, Arthur Ernest Robb, who was 14 at the time. The records show that he was living at 140 Shelley Avenue, Manor Park, with his widowed father, Charles Edward Robb, age 60, and his 17 year old sister, Caroline Emma, as well as his sister Louisa Jane Maria, age 26, her husband, Richard James Brackley, and their children, Richard, 4, and Irene Louisa, 1. In fact, Richard, born in Berkhamsted and a warehouse porter in the ‘tobacconists fancy goods’ trade, is described as the head of the household.

Charles is still working as an office messenger in a shipping office, while Caroline is employed as a telephone operator for the national telephone company, and my grandfather Arthur was a brass finisher’s apprentice for the Patent Lighting Company. 

Among the useful pieces of information included in this census, and not in previous surveys, is the number of rooms in the house – in this case 6. Additionally, the form records how long couples had been married, enabling researchers to fill in missing wedding dates, and how many children had been born and how many survived. The forms are signed by the head of the household, in this case Richard Brackley.