Censuses of Population, 1841-1901

The returns of the ten-yearly census contain:

Ten-yearly census contents



age (in 1841 rounded down to the nearest five if the person was over fifteen years of age)



relationship to the head of household (not in 1841)

place of birth (in 1841 limited to the county where enumerated, or not, or in Scotland, Ireland or Foreign Parts)

marital status (not in 1841)


The surviving returns for 1841-1901 for England and Wale, including the Channel Islands and Isle of Man, can be searched on microfilm at the Family Records Centre; the 1901 census is available on microfiche at The National Archives. The 1841 and 1851 returns are in series HO107,
1861 in RG9,
1871 in RG10,
1881 in RG 11,
1891 in RG 12,
and 1901 in RG 13.

Microfilm copies are also widely available in local record offices and libraries, and at Family History Centres. Census Returns 1841-1891 in Microform: A Directory to Local Holdings in Great Britain; Channel Islands; Isle of Man, by J Gibson and E Hampson (Federation of Family History Societies, 6th edn 1997, updated reprint 2001), lists the whereabouts of many local copies. www.familysearch.org lists many library holdings in the United Kingdom.

Images and transcripts of the 1871-1901 censuses together with name indexes are available online at www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/census/; there is a fee to download copies of the returns. The returns for 1861 to 1891 have been co-branded with MyFamily Inc. at www.ancestry.co.uk , who will gradually make available the returns for 1841 and 1851; there is a fee to download the images.

You can search a complete personal name index and transcripts of households recorded in the 1881 census returns online at www.familysearch.org . They are also available as part of the family history databases at the Family Records Centre, on CD-ROM at The National Archives, in Family History Centres, and many local libraries and record offices. The indexes are also offered on county microfiche and as a national surname index at the Family Records Centre and elsewhere.

You can find other personal name indexes in Marriage and Census Indexes for Family Historians, by J Gibson and E Hampson (Federation of Family History Societies, 8th edn 2000). A large number of them are available at the Family Records Centre, at Family History Centres, and in relevant local libraries and record offices. Otherwise, as the returns are arranged topographically, it is important to have an address near to a census year. The larger towns and cities have mostly been street indexed, making it easy to find the folio and page on which a specific address can be found.

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Last Updated. 10-October-2016 By admin