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Genealogists in 1921: discover a profession that stands the test of time

Genealogists in 1921: discover a profession that stands the test of time

Jen Baldwin Findmypast genealogist
Jen Baldwin
27 April 2022

Of all the occupations found in the 1921 Census of England & Wales, 'genealogist' might be our favourite.

We've found some amazing things in the 1921 Census, there's no doubt about it. But what of the family historians of the decade?

Explore the 1921 Census of England and Wales

The profession of genealogy has existed for generations. Our expert Jen Baldwin discusses just a few of our kindred spirts we found in the census. 

1. Raymond T. Berthon

The enumerator made a special note for Raymond’s occupation. Though he listed himself as a professional genealogist, 'not occupied for living' is added in.

Raymond's 1921 census return

Raymond's 1921 Census return. View this record here.

This is the 3rd census in which Raymond appears as a genealogist. 

2. Elizabeth and Joseph Bartlett

American genealogists with a global reputation, it would seem that Elizabeth and Joseph were in London on the night of the census to conduct research. They are published in the New England Historic & Genealogical Society Register and were given lifetime memberships. In 1934, his book A Genealogy of the Descendants of Joseph Bartlett of Newton, Mass for Seven Generations was published and is now available for the public.

Joseph Bartlett's 1921 census return

Joseph and Elizabeth's 1921 Census return. View the full record here.

He ultimately published at least four major works and you can still find several articles of his in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register.

3. Herbert and Henry Sayers

Herbert and Henry were brothers from Jersey who shared a passion for their history. Their lives mirror one another, both marrying and starting families, and spending most of their careers in the Channel Islands. In 1921, however, they are both in Surrey.  

Henry's 1921 census record

Henry's 1921 Census return. View this full record here.

Henry can be found with his wife Annie and their children, Henry and Alice, on St Helier Angel Road, Thames Ditton. 

Herbert's 1921 Census record

Herbert's 1921 Census return. View the full record here.

Herbert is seen with wife Marie, his brother-in-law Clarence Le Brocq and niece, Margaret Mary Le Brocq, living at The Corner House, Thames Ditton. 

4. Fanny Charlotte Bamford

One of the very few females who counted themselves in the occupation of genealogist, she lists herself as a co-head of the household with Harriett Katherine Louise Thompson.

While the enumerator appears to have written 'single' over their entry of 'head' in the marital status column, it’s clear they were partners in life.

Fanny and Harriet's 1921 Census record

Fanny and Harriet's 1921 Census return. View the full record here.

They also listed themselves as shared head of household in the 1911 Census while living in Cornwall, though at the time, only 'private means' was included for occupation rather than the 'research work, genealogical' she noted in 1921.

Fanny and Harriet's 1911 Census return.

Fanny and Harriet's 1911 Census return. View the full record here.

You’ll find them residing at 4 Winside, Frensham, Surrey. 

5. Leonard Arthur White

The youngest of our group, at just 23 years, Leonard proves there are no age restrictions in the world of family history.

Leonard's army medical history record.

Leonard's army medical history record. View this full record here.

He enlisted in 1917 in the Royal Irish Rifles at age 18. He struggled during his service, at one point suffering with shell shock and paralysis of his left hand after being burned by a shell. By 1921, he is residing with his parents, Arthur and Alice, in Paddington.

Leonard's 1921 Census return

Leonard's 1921 Census return. View this record here.

While we explore our family history, it’s also very enjoyable to explore the history of genealogy. Check out these researchers and more of our tremendous historical community in the 1921 Census.