Sunday 16 January 2022

1921 Census of England & Wales - Wynne household

There was huge excitement among many genealogists this week with the publication of the 1921 census for England & Wales. I didn't expect to find any direct ancestors living in England, apart from one set of great-grandparents. Patrick and Teresa Wynne had emigrated to Newcastle-upon-Tyne during the previous decade.

This census could show:
  • whether my grandad Kevin, born 1909, was still with the family, or if he had already been sent back to Dublin, to live with his Aunt Mary
  • An example of my great-grandfather's signature
  • the family's home address
  • the name and address of Patrick Wynne's employer in Newcastle-upon-Tyne
  • confirmation of the total number of children born to Patrick Wynne
  • confirmation of each person's age, in years and months

The family were easily found in the index. Well, Teresa and five of the children were. There was no sign of Patrick or Kevin anywhere in England and Wales. Déjà vu! Patrick was not at home on census night in 1911 either. He'd been in Cork, probably for work. Where was he this time?

The family were living at 136 Violet Street, Benwell, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

This census was enumerated on 19 June in 1921, and probably missed numerous people away on their summer holidays. Patrick may have been home in Dublin during his break. It's unlikely we'll ever know for sure as no census was taken in Ireland that year. The War of Independence was in full swing.

On census night in England, the Wynne household included:
  • Teresa, wife, 33 yrs, 1 mt, married, b. Dublin, Home duties.
  • Maurice, son, 14 yrs, 6 mts, b. Dublin, Machine boy, Armstrong Whitworth.
  • Brendan, son, 13 yrs, 2 mts, b. Dublin, Wholetime school.
  • Eileen, daughter, 5 yrs, 1 mt, b. Benwell, N/C on Tyne, Wholetime School.
  • Brian, son, 3 yrs, 0 mts, b. Benwell, N/C on Tyne.
  • Norah, daughter, 8 mts, b. Benwell, N/C on Tyne.
No surprises there, except maybe that Maurice was already working at 14.

Granddad must have been given to the Aunt Mary by then. He was company for her. She'd been left on her own back home when they all emigrated to England.

But the next part is surprising, and sad!

Teresa said she had only 5 children 'residing as members of this household or elsewhere'. And clearly she had 6! What about her 11-year-old son, Kevin? What mother forgets a child? Did she misread the form? It was only supposed to have been completed by Patrick, had he been home, and other 'married men, widowers and widows'. Married women had answered an equivalent question in 1911. Another misinterpretation on her part? Maybe Teresa just had her hands full, on her own, with all the kids.

Did she forget Kevin, aged 11 years?

I missed out on seeing Patrick Wynne's signature, as Teresa signed the form - a lost opportunity, maybe the last opportunity. The 1931 census returns were destroyed by fire, and Patrick died in 1937.

It's the second example of Teresa's signature found. See her Signature Silhouette for comparison. Unusual for a married woman to leave more records than her husband in this day and age.

Source: $ FindMyPast, 1921 Census.


  1. As usual, the answers in the census create more questions, but that's the fun of genealogy, right? I'm looking forward to the surprises I'll find when the 1950 census is released here in April.

  2. I can imagine Ellie, I'm looking forward to the 1926 census here, you'll long have your 1950 one by then though.

  3. How we love census records, we family historians and genealogists! Hooray for the 1921 British census, and yet, you've come up empty with some of the things you hoped to find. I'm sorry you missed out on Patrick's signature. And how sad that Teresa didn't give an answer of 6 children, not including Kevin. Surely she must have misunderstood? But you'll never know.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!