ENGLAND and WALES Census returns :: FamilyTreeCircles.com Genealogy
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ENGLAND and WALES Census returns

Journal by Dave Calladine

There has been a census every ten years since 1801, excluding 1941. However, only those that date from 1841 are of real value to the family historian. The administration of the early census returns 1801-1831 was the responsibility of the Overseers of the Poor and the clergy. Most of these early returns were unfortunately destroyed, although in some isolated instances they have been preserved. The census returns for 1841 were the first to be kept and, as far as the public is concerned, the information is released by the Public Record Office after a hundred years. For example, the public were given access to the 1891 census returns on 1 January 1992.

10 March 1801 The 1801 census was the first census taken from the whole of Britain excluding Ireland- but it no longer exists, with a few exceptions
27 May 1811 - No longer exists, with a few exceptions
28 May 1821 - No longer exists, with a few exceptions
30 May 1831 - No longer exists, with a few exceptions

7 June 1841 - The 1841 census was different from the previous censuses in two important respects. Firstly, the administration passed into the hands of the Registrar General and the Superintendent Registrars, who were responsible for the registration of births, marriages and deaths. Many recent reforms, including the 1836 General Registration Act, which had culminated in the introduction of civil registration had resulted in a new layer of central and local government.

When the 1841 census was being prepared, it was seen as a logical step that it should also supervise the census. Consequently, civil registration and census taking became inter-related; any change in local boundaries or districts affected them both. Secondly, the emphasis changed from questions concerned with population size, and the numbers engaged in certain occupations and the condition of the housing stock, to a much more detailed analysis of individuals and families, and the communities in which they lived.

Census returns are held at: England and Wales "Family Records Centre", 1 Myddelton Street, Islington, LONDON EC1R 1UW
District Libraries and County Record Offices normally have copies of the returns for their own area

LDS have copies of the census microfilms. These usually need to be ordered unless you are visiting a branch of the LDS in the same area as the returns in which you are interested.

It is advisable before making a trip to a library or record office, to check the exact whereabouts of specific census returns in order to avoid a wasted visit. In addition, many libraries only have a limited number of viewers and a booking may be necessary.

The 1841 is also available online, FreeCEN (Cornwall, Warwickshire, Scotland) - familyhistoryonline.net (pay per view)
A few local indexes exist - see GENUKI county pages thegenealogist.co.uk/ (pay per view)
British Origins - can now be searched on from the counties of: Cambridgeshire, Cornwall, Derbyshire, Devon, Dorset, Essex, Glamorgan, Gloucestershire (includes Bristol and suburbs), Herefordshire, Lincolnshire, Monmouthshire, Norfolk, Nottinghamshire, Somerset, Staffordshire, Suffolk, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire.
Cornwall Online Census Project,

30 March 1851 - In 1851, in addition to the census of population a census was taken of places of worship. Although this was purely voluntary, most places of Worship made returns. A 2% Sample - An ESRC-sponsored research project led by Professor Michael Anderson at Edinburgh University transcribed 2% of English and Welsh census records some years ago. Through a misunderstanding, they were placed on GENUKI for a short while in 1995, but immediately withdrawn when we were informed that Professor Anderson and the ESRC had not given, and would not give, permission for the results of his project to be made freely available. Alternative legal copies of these files that can now be purchased on CD-ROM, for example from S&N Genealogy Supplies.

When searching for your ancestors on a census film and they are not at the address you expect them to be - Some areas were enumerated by the back door, and others were placed at the end of the notes. Some were omitted completely! Always check the folios that appear at the back of the book. It is fortunate that some large cities have been street indexed for 1851. Many smaller places have not been indexed.

1851 is available online at: Many local indexes exist - see GENUKI county pages thegenealogist.co.uk/ - pay per view
Ancestry.co.uk - FreeCEN Cornwall, Scotland, Shropshire- familyhistoryonline.net
SN 1316 the pioneering 2% sample project is on ancestry.com and ancestry.co.uk

7 April 1861 Online at ancestry.com and ancestry.co.uk - 1837online.com - FreeCEN - England Scotland

thegenealogist.co.uk/ - pay per view - familyhistoryonline.net pay per view
Few local indexes exist - see GENUKI county pages

2 April 1871 Online at ancestry.com and ancestry.co.uk - FreeCEN - England Scotland Wales

Few local indexes exist - see GENUKI county pages - familyhistoryonline.net pay per view
thegenealogist.co.uk/ - pay per view
England & Wales Census British Origins Counties: Devon, Glamorgan, London-Kent, London-Middlesex, Middlesex (ex Metro), London-Surrey, Surrey (ex Metro) and Wiltshire.

A full index to and digitised images of the original 1871 Census records for the above counties. (Further counties to be added)

3 April 1881 - The L.D.S. (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) have now provided online search facilities for the 1881 British Census (England, Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man only at www.familysearch.org - with Scotland on CD set. The 1881 British Census Indexes do not include Ireland, because it was destroyed.

Free online at ancestry.com and ancestry.co.uk - pay for images - familyhistoryonline.net pay per view
The classification of occupations in 1881 and The Census Enumerators' Books as classroom based projects.

5 April 1891 Online at ancestry.com and ancestry.co.uk - FreeCEN - England Wales
The FreeCEN Project is a volunteer effort to provide a free online searchable database of the 19th century UK census returns, initially concentrating mainly on those for 1891, but its early days.

Few local indexes exist - see GENUKI county pages - familyhistoryonline.net pay per view
thegenealogist.co.uk/ - pay per view

31 March 1901 England and Wales available online at the National Archives (TNA) - familyhistoryonline.net pay per view
1901 England at Ancestry Ancestry.co.uk - 1901 Wales Census - thegenealogist.co.uk/ - pay per view

2 April 1911 100 year closure - will be opened 1st January 2012
19 June 1921 100-year closure
26 April 1931 Destroyed during WW2
29 September 1939 WW2 National Registration - 100 year closure
8 April 1951 100-year closure
23 April 1961 100-year closure
25 April 1971 100-year closure
5 April 1981 100-year closure
21 April 1991 100-year closure
29 April 2001 100-year closure

Surnames: NONE
Viewed: 4173 times
by Dave Calladine Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2006-01-26 15:28:05

Dave Calladine , from Yeovil, Somerset, UK, has been a Family Tree Circles member since Jan 2006. is researching the following names: CALLADINE, LAUNCHBURY, FULLER and 22 other(s).

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by jannyz55 on 2006-07-10 05:09:25

Hi Dave, Just checking I have this right, the only "Free" site for census uk is freecen?

by allycat on 2006-07-10 23:26:38

Dear Jannyz55, there is this as well - free bmd England and Wales.

[url=http://freebmd.rootsweb.com/Free BMD[/url]

by allycat on 2006-07-10 23:27:48

Sorry here is clickable link again...

Free BMD

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