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Activity 3: Census Questions

This page is designed to help you understand how the database analysis facilities on page on 'Activity Sheet 2' can be used. Print this page out using the button top right, and then go back to 'Activity Sheet 2'.

Which village, East or West Runton, had the bigger population in 1851?


Go towards the bottom of the blue panel, and look for the Display Chart option. Click on the 'Field' option to open the drop-down menu. Select 'Address'. Leave the next door option as 'Pie Chart'. The census enumerator only put either 'East Runton' or 'West Runton' on the form, so you can now go to the 'Draw Chart' button and click on it. The question is answered!


What was the most common family surname in the Runtons in 1851?


Go to 'Display Chart', select 'Surname from the drop-down menu, and change the 'Qty to show' option to 20. Then click on the 'Draw chart' option.

The answer is quite clear - but there are two things to note.

Firstly, look at the 'Other' option. This has been used to gather together all the other less common names. You could choose to display a larger quantity - but the graph may then become unintelligible. However, it has certainly answered the question we first asked.

Secondly, more detailed local knowledge would suggest that the 'Leak' family were sometimes recorded as 'Lake' or 'Leake'. This is always a problem with census records from before our age of more standardised spelling. Let's try another question to reassure ourselves that this isn't a problem.


How can I quickly check that there are no other names similar to 'Leak' which ought to be grouped with it in the last chart?


Go to the 'Search' option. Click on the first box in that section of the blue panel, and use the drop-down menu to select 'Surname'. Go to the next box and choose 'Starts with'. Type the leter 'L' in the third box. Click on 'Do Search'.

At the very top of the blue panel, it should now say 'Record 1 of 62'. For a detailed check, you can use the arrow keys on screen to go through each of the records and make a visual check. Or you can produce another bar chart, just making use of the names selected.

Hopefully you can now be sure that your first analysis of surnames hadn't hidden anything you should have noted.

Were there more agricultural labourers in East Runton than there were fishermen in 1851?


Go to the 'Search' section, select 'Address' from the first menu, 'Equals' from the second menu, and type East Runton into the third box. Click on 'Do Search' You now have just the 'East Runton population selected.

In the 'Display Chart' option, choose 'Occupation' as the field to chart, leave 'Pie Chart' selected and put '15' in the 'Qty to show' box. Click on 'Draw chart'.

Many children have no occupation recorded; likewise a large number of wives. In this field, the analysis will include a person twice, if two entries were included on the original - e.g. 'Fisherman' and 'Pauper'.


You can now see how a 'Search' can be followed by an analysis, to help build up a picture of life in the vilage in 1851. It's now time to ask your own questions!

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