The image below is from the 1841 Census at Tavistock, Devon, and includes my 4th great grandparents John Creber and Harriet (nee Palmer). I have been trying to make out the name of the PLACE where they were living.

Next to John's name it says "Do" (short for Ditto meaning same as above) but it is the word above that I can make little sense of.

I think it is one word, and not Old <something like Leuda>.

Can anybody do better than me on the handwriting, perhaps armed with more knowledge of the Tavistock area?

enter image description here

  • 2
    Have you looked at subsequent censuses to see if the same address is more legible?
    – user104
    Feb 20, 2016 at 10:03
  • @ColeValleyGirl Both appear to be deceased by the next census but that's a good idea - I'll look for their 1841 neighbours in 1851 instead.
    – PolyGeo
    Feb 20, 2016 at 11:12

1 Answer 1


I think this place name is written "Old Duda", however I am confident it is referring to a place called "Old Wooda" in Tavistock parish. If spoken out loud there is a very minimal audible difference between the two spellings even though they look completely different. The spelling Duda is just a mistake.

Old Wooda was the name of a small group of dwellings on the outskirts of Tavistock.

This place is shown on a later 1884 map:

1884 Tavistock Map

The reason I am confident this is the correct place is because looking at the original 1841 census page, the places enumerated immediately before were Indescomb Farm and Cottage, and two pages earlier Tavy Cottage. Looking at the map above, it appears the path the enumerator took was down Exeter Street towards the town.

It can also be useful to review the Enumeration District Description on the first page of each 1841 census book, to get an idea of the path the enumerator took through the district. On Ancestry.co.uk, you can view this by scrolling back to the first page in a given folio series. It is not particularly helpful in this case as I am not very familiar with the local geography, but I will include it here for completeness (perhaps you can examine the maps more carefully to work out the exact route the enumerator took, and where all the mentioned landmarks were located):

Enumeration District Description

Finally, checking the 1851 census confirms that this place is Old Wooda. The Snell family are still living at Indiscombe, and enumerated immediately after them are several families at "Old Wood". One of these families is a Williams family – perhaps related to the Ann Williams living there in 1841. To view the page in full, the census reference for this place in 1851 is HO 107/1883, f 369, p 16:

1851 census Tavistock

The fact that there were several more families living at Old Wooda in 1851 compared to 1841 suggests there may have been some building and expansion there between the censuses.

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