People of Fovant

Identity CardPerhaps the most useful sources for the identification of the individuals who [Wartime Identity Card]have made up Fovant’s 19th century population are the Census schedules. The national census of England and Wales was first taken in 1801 and, with the exception of 1941, when the wartime issuing of National Registration Identity Cards in effect constituted a census, has been taken every ten years since.

Minimal social information was contained in the earlier Census schedules, but the questionnaire was gradually broadened in 1841 and further extended in 1851, so that the returns had to include the address, Christian and surname, indication of head of household, marital state, relationship to head, gender, age, occupation and place of birth.

That some of the families from the earliest records – Feltham, Barter, Nightingale, Martyn – have moved elsewhere is not unusual, for even within an apparently enclosed rural economy there has always been quite a lot of movement. One has only to look at the birth places noted on the census returns to realise, not only how often people changed their place of employment, but also how far many of them travelled from their birth area.

Alternatively, some families remained residents of the village, and the extension of their families can be followed throughout the Census schedules – from the earliest up to 1901. Goodfellow, Read, Jay, Coombes, Wyatt, Foyle and Simper, all surnames which feature in the early Census returns, are still represented in the village today.

Due to a privacy restriction, census schedules are not released into the public domain until 100 years after they were taken, so we must wait for each following decade before successive 20th century social details are released.

Fovant Census data

Census data for Fovant can be found on the following pages:

Each record in the census shows:

  • The Schedule number of each household.
  • The name of each person in the household.
  • The relationship of the person to the Head of the household (See the key below). *The person’s married state (M = Married, U = Unmarried, W = Widow/Widower). *
  • The year of the person’s birth, although this depends of which month the census was taken (and what age was declared !).
  • The person’s occupation.
  • Their birthplace. *
  • Data omitted from the 1841 census is marked with an asterisk (*).

To find the person that you are looking for it is suggested that you use the Introduction / Search box on the menu to your left and use the built-in search facility. You can either select the whole site for the search, or just the Fovant Census pages.
Once on the census page you can use the ‘Edit / Find’ facility on the browser to locate the surnames. (Just use one word).

Key to Relationships

HHead of houseULUncle-in-law


Oct. 2003

Content last updated

21 October 2015