Here is a census entry for Mary Ann Brown in 1891.

I notice in the transcription that it says 61 East Street. On the image though it looks like this:

enter image description here

I no longer have access to view the images on Ancestry, but I initially wondered if that was a "?" next to 61. Or, is it a abbreviation for "number"? I tried to navigate at www.freecen.org.uk to the previous property but it said it was unoccupied. And then it would not navigate further back.

The reason I ask is because in 1885 she gave birth to a girl and according to the birth certificate that we have in our possession she was living at 59 East Street. It is very clear on this certificate.

That is why I wondered if it was a "?" on the census entry.

Otherwise, they move from "61" to "59" within a four year period!

That is why I was trying to see the previous census images ...

  • 5
    To me, it looks like 61a (as if there are two addresses at that house: 61a and 61b). As far as moving just a few houses, I've seen it before.
    – RonJohn
    Commented Dec 6, 2020 at 20:23
  • 4
    They may not have moved; the house numbers may have changed underneath them. I've seen that happen in several different cities.
    – shoover
    Commented Dec 7, 2020 at 3:01
  • 1
    I've edited the Q title to make it shorter.
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Dec 10, 2020 at 5:49
  • @JanMurphy Thanks for that. It surprises me that the question gets over 1000 views, the answer gets nearly 10 votes, yet the question that triggered it all only got 1 vote. Oh well ... 😊 Commented Dec 10, 2020 at 8:22

1 Answer 1


The UK and Ireland censuses are available from multiple places: Ancestry, FindMyPast, and MyHeritage to name a few. FamilySearch has transcripts, but it links to FindMyPast for the images.

I can access the image at Ancestry and MyHeritage through my library. In both of these, the image is not very clear. However, on MyHeritage, I was able to zoom large enough so that I think we can confirm that it is a lowercase A with an underscore. In the zoomed image below, you can see that the character has a tail on the right side, and you can barely make out a light spot in the center.

zoomed image of 61a East

The previous page has people living at 59 and then 3U (3 uninhabited buildings). 61a may be half of a duplex with 61b (which is not listed), or it may be a garage apartment or other dwelling behind 61 proper, which is one of the 3U between 59 and 61a. It would be helpful to locate a city directory for this time period to see how the house numberings go.

The ages and birth places for this household are listed as follows:

Name Age Calculated Birth Year Birthplace
Mary Ann 38 1852 or 1853 Whimple
William 13 1877 or 1878 Whimple
Gertrude 11 1879 or 1880 Honiton
Richard 9 1881 or 1882 Honiton
Elizabeth 5 1885 or 1886 Barnstaple
Albert 4 1886 or 1887 South Molton
Robert 2 1888 or 1889 South Molton
Harry 1 1889 or 1890 South Molton

South Molton is the city of the current (1891) page.

This page lists Mary Ann's marital status as M but where's William Sr.? Also, the daughter who is 5 may be the one that was born in 1885, but this one is listed as having been born in Barnstaple, so either that is oddly specifically incorrect (she's the only Barnstaple), or there is a missing child, or this is a different family entirely.

Directories (parish, city, county) for the corresponding places and years from the table above may be helpful if you can find them.

  • Thanks for this. Her husband was a "Courier" (William) and he was detected at another location at the time of the census. Mary had in total 11 children (clearly written on the 1911 census) but I have only been able to track 8, 1 of which died in 1901. The daughter who was born in 1885 was Mary Elizabeth. Mary is one of my "1st cousin 1x removed" ancestors. Commented Dec 7, 2020 at 5:14

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