Example: U.K. Census Records
After being side-tracked for far too long I finally got around to researching my Phillips/Dunning English line. I had all the birth, deaths and marriage material that I needed to begin, so looked to see what the U.K. Census records had to offer in fleshing out these ancestors. I decided to read the ‘Guide’, you know the adage ‘read the instructions’, this is found on the U.K. National Archives website,
What a treasure of information. Access is available to the U.K. Census records from 1841 to 1911 for England, Wales, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, vessels in English and Welsh ports and inland waterways (from 1861 onwards) and the British Army overseas (1911 only). The release of further census records will occur once they reach 100 years from the census date.
The 1939 Registers are like, but are not the same as, the census. However, as the 1931 census was destroyed in World War 2 and there was no census taken in 1941 it provides information on the civilian population of England and Wales just after the outbreak of World War Two. For more information on the 1939 Register, please read the Guide on the 1939 Register, the link is below. https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/1939-register/
The dates the censuses were conducted was a great help in my research, to determine ages, possible marriage years and time parameters, and to drill down my research.
- 1841 – 6 June
- 1851 – 30 March
- 1861 – 7 April
- 1871 – 2 April
- 1881 – 3 April
- 1891 – 5 April
- 1901 – 31 March
- 1911 – 2 April
I found a grandson living with his grandfather. This information confirmed the birthplace and age of an earlier generation, which was a wonderful clue as where to look to expand on that research. In another instance, the future wife was living not far from her husband to be, plus the names and information on both families. ‘So that’s how they met!’…’Gold’. I will never forget to check out the neighbours again!
In the censuses of 1801, 1811, 1821 and 1831, lists of names were not collected centrally, although some are held in local record offices. Other lists were sometimes compiled for a variety of reasons, which are often referred to as census ‘substitutes.’
Census records for 1841 through to 1911 are on Ancestry, FindMyPast and TheGenealogist. To view the original census records a paid subscription is required. Ancestry and FindMyPast are available at GSQ.
About People in the census. The following information on individuals is included in each census year as follows:
- first name and surname
- age (rounded down to the nearest five years for those aged 15 or over)
- whether they were born in the county where they were enumerated (Y or N)
- whether they were born in Scotland (S), Ireland (I) or Foreign Parts (P or sometimes F)
- 1851 and 1861
- first name, middle names (often just initials) and surname
- relationship to the head of the household
- marital status
- age (at last birthday)
- rank, profession or occupation
- where born – county and parish if born in England or Wales, country only if born outside England and Wales)
- whether blind, or deaf and dumb
- 1871 and 1881 As 1851 and 1861, except for the following difference:
- the last column now reads: 1. Blind 2. Deaf and Dumb 3. Imbecile or Idiot 4. Lunatic
- 1891 As 1871 and 1881 with the following extra details on employment:
- whether Employer, Employed, or Neither Employer nor Employed
- language spoken (Wales only)
- 1901 As 1891, with occupation details changed to:
- ‘Employer, Worker or Own account’
- a new column ‘If working at home’
- language spoken (Isle of Man only)
- 1911 As 1901, with extra questions:
- For married women only,
- the number of years of their present marriage,
- the number of children born of that marriage,
- the number still living, and the number that had died.
- As well as their occupation,
- the industry in which the person was employed.
- If employed by a government, municipal or other public body,
- the name of that body.
- Parish and county of birth for anyone born in the UK (which included all of Ireland). If born elsewhere in the British Empire, the colony or dependency, and the state or province.
- For anyone born outside England and Wales, whether they were resident or visitor in the country.
- Nationality of anyone born overseas whether British by parentage, British by naturalisation (including year of naturalisation) or, if a foreign national, of which country.
- In the Infirmity column, the age at which the person had become afflicted.
In 1911 all the household schedules were kept, for the first time, and were not copied into enumeration books. There are instead enumerators’ summary books which list every address, including unoccupied buildings, and the only names they contain are those of the head of each household. These summary books are the only place you will find a description of each building such as ‘House and shop’, ‘Hotel’, ‘Private house’. Unoccupied houses and non-residential properties such as churches and factories are also listed.
This is just a tip of the iceberg of information available. There are many informative websites which enlighten and teach us just how comprehensive some of the record sets are, and how much and what type of information they hold e.g. Queensland State Library has a wonderful collection of Guides located on website https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/research-collections/family-history/family-history-research-guides
These guides are easily downloaded and provide a step by step formula for researching life events: –
- Adoption records
- Australian parish records
- Cemetery records
- Divorce records
- Orphanages, children’s institutions and child migrants
- Wills, probate and intestacies
- Travel & Migration
- Convict research
- German research
- Tracing Huguenots heritage
- Immigration & shipping
- Naturalisation records
- Work & Occupations
- Blue books (a list of most publics servants currently employed by the Government), which were usually published each year.
- British Army in Colonial Australia
- Police records
- Pubs and Publicans
- Queensland mining accidents
- Railway employees
- Directories & Social History
- Biographical resources
- Census and muster records
- Colonial Secretary’s correspondence – Letters received re Moreton Bay 1822 – 1860
- Directories, almanacs and gazetteers
- Electoral rolls
- House history check list
- Land records
- Persons called before Queensland government committees
- Queensland Post Office directories
- Victoria County histories
Combine this with a visit to the Queensland State Archives and then on to the Genealogical Society of Queensland Inc. and if you have cleverly noted your sources your research will be second to none.