You know you’re getting old when…

You know you're getting old when you pick up what looks like a really old penny but find out it has your birthday on it

Photo Source: We Know Memes (used with Thanks)

There are always these humourous lists of reasons telling you whether you’re old or not doing the rounds. Just for fun here are a few of my favourites.

I’ve realised that working with your family history provides another one to add to the list.

You know you’re getting old when you find people you have met personally on published census returns.

For the non genealogists among you, this means someone who lived at least 100 years ago, since the 1911 census returns were only released to the public 100 years later.

Finding my grandparents

In the 1911 census I have found my maternal grandparents. Here is my grandmother Mary at age 1, living in Clibberswick, Unst (N.B. “do” is shorthand for “ditto”, and “daur” means “daughter”).

No.
of
Schedule
ROAD, STREET, &c.,
and No. or NAME of
HOUSE.
NAME and SURNAME
of each Person.
RELATION
to Head of
Family.
AGE
(last Birthday)
and Sex.
Males Females
61 Clibberwsick Peter ********* Head 72
Ballantyne do Daur 45
Andrew do Son 42
Robert do Son 32
Margaret do Daur 29
Williamina do Grand daur 11
Peter do Grand son 2
Mary S do Grand daur 1

And here is my grandfather John at age 5, living in Hoy Villa, Unst.

No.
of
Schedule
ROAD, STREET, &c.,
and No. or NAME of
HOUSE.
NAME and SURNAME
of each Person.
RELATION
to Head of
Family.
AGE
(last Birthday)
and Sex.
Males Females
104 Hoy Villa William ***** Head 38
Marjorie do Wife 34
Robert Wm do Son 6
John H do Son 5
My maternal grandparents, John and Mary.

My maternal grandparents once they were married. Photo taken ~1947

At first, when I was working through the census records, they were just lists of people written down by someone, a very long time ago. The names were just people who lived, a very long time ago.

I did know (because I already knew their birth dates) that I would find my maternal grandparents in the 1911 census. However, it wasn’t until I actually read their names on the pages and it set my heart racing, that I had the realisation that this wasn’t actually so very long ago, and here were real people that I had met, not just names on a page from 100 years ago. That made it real for me and not just an exercise in matching names to birth dates.

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