At long last April 5th arrived, marking the release of the 1911 Census of Scotland. Somewhat sadly, I realized that I had become so used to not having access to the 1911 Census that I almost (note that I stated “almost”) forgot about it’s release this week.
The 1911 Census of Scotland was the country’s 12th and was taken on the night of April 2, 1911. The census included some important information that was not found in previous censuses like the duration of marriages, number of children and number of children still alive.
I immediately undertook a search for my immediate Hadden ancestral family. I expected to find my great grandparents, Alexander and Jessie Hadden living in Aberdeenshire with their three sons, Alexander (Alec), Andrew (Andy), and John (my grandfather). Finding the Hadden family through the ScotlandsPeople 1911 Census search engine was easy. I inputted their surname “Hadden” followed by their given names, “Alexander” and “Jessie.” I felt confident enough to search based on exact matches for the Hadden surname in the county of Aberdeen.
I was a bit surprised by the search result. Oh, there was only one record matching my search criteria as I expected but when I looked at the record, my great grandfather was missing from the family.
Jessie Hadden (nee Gaull), my great grandmother, was listed as the ‘head’ of the family. She correctly gave her age at the time as being 29 years old (her birthday was in March just prior to the census). Living with her in the house at 6 Pirie’s Lane, Woodside, Aberdeen (pictured above in an image captured from Google Earth) were her three sons: Alexander, aged 7 and going to school, Andrew, aged 5 and going to school, and finally, my grandfather John, aged 1. The ‘Alexander’ (later Uncle Alec as I would know him) was not the same Alexander I expected to find with my great grandmother as I had forgotten about the two Alexanders in the family unit.
Jessie indicated that she was married and had been for 8 years. The reality is she had only been married for seven years and four months to that point in time. Minor detail perhaps but I suspect that Jessie who had only been married four months when Uncle Alec was born did not want to risk any suspicious looks from the enumerator. Sadly, Jessie also reported that she had given birth to four children but that only three were still alive. I have no idea as who this fourth child might be as the only known child death in the family was Hilda who was born in 1914 and died in 1917. Jessie did give birth in 1901 to a boy named Disney Hay but Disney did not die and lived into adulthood. More research is clearly needed to address this issue.
My great grandfather was found in the 1911 census after all. He wasn’t living with his family because he was away working in the fishing industry. Alexander (Sr.) is listed in the census as a 28 year old married Officer, 2nd Engineer on the S. S. North Star. I had been raised hearing about my great grandfather the marine engineer. Now I have a record that proves the family story is not legend or myth!