England and Wales Census, 1881 (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.
Access the records: England and Wales Census, 1881 .
 

Contents

Collection Time Period

The English government has taken censuses every 10 years since 1801, except for 1941. This article covers the census for 1881.

Record Description

Census schedules consist of large sheets with preprinted rows and columns. The schedules are arranged by county and then divided by civil parish, while some are further subdivided into smaller enumeration districts, each district being an area that could be enumerated in a day. For reference purposes, the National Archives assigned a piece number to each enumeration district and stamped a folio number in the upper right corner of each right-side page. The number refers to entries on both sides of the page (both the recto and verso of the folio).

England and Wales 1881 Census.jpg

Record Content

The 1891 census contains the following information:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Parish and county of birth
  • Occupation
  • Relationship to the head of the household
  • May also list the birth country for people born outside of England

How to Use This Record

Census records are a good source to use as you search for your relatives. Use census records to help you find the age of your ancestor, as well as birthplace, occupation, and address. The records can also help you define relationships between individuals.

You must know the person's name and the time period when he or she lived. If there is no index available, you need to know where the person lived. You may have to read around marks made by the clerks who compiled the census data. These marks sometimes obscure the information. Other things to consider when finding and using census information are:

  • Accept the ages with caution.
  • Given names may not be the same as a name recorded in church or vital records.
  • The information may be incorrect.
  • Names may be spelled phonetically (or as they sounded to the census taker).
  • Place-names may be misspelled.
  • Individuals missing from a family may be listed elsewhere in the census.

All members of a family living in the same household will be listed together. When you find your family in one census, search earlier or later censuses to find additional family members and to verify details.

Record History


The Registrar General created the national censuses. Enumerators went door to door collecting the data in census books. Censuses taken between 1851 and 1931 were conducted on a single day, sometime between March 31 and April 8. The census takers listed only those who spent the night in each household, so individuals who were traveling or at school were listed where they spent the night. Almost all the residents of England are included in the census. Noncitizens were also included.

The original schedules are well preserved and housed at the Public Records Office in Kew. Microfilm copies are located at the Family History Library, at the Family Records Centre in England, and at county record offices and some libraries. An attempt is now being made to preserve the records by transcribing and publishing them. Some of these preservation efforts are being published in book form, while others are being posted on the Internet.

Why This Record Was Created


The Registrar General created censuses for various reasons, including population studies, accessing military readiness, compiling lists of eligible voters, and tracking relief to the poor.

Record Reliability


The information gathered by the census taker is only as reliable as the person who provided the information. While some information may not be completely accurate, it can still provide important clues in locating an ancestor.

Related Websites

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Related Wiki Articles

England Vital Records

Contributions to This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. Guidelines are available to help you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide. If you would like to get more involved join the WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Sources of Information for This Collection

"England and Wales Census, 1881," database, FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org/); from Find My Past LTD (LONDON). FHL digital images, Family History Library Salt Lake City, Utah.

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from a record, you should also list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

A suggested format for citing FamilySearch Historical Collections, including how to cite individual archives is found in the following link: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections

Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection

"England and Wales Census, 1881;" Database and images, FamilySearch accessed March, 2011). entry for Howard Jones, age: 15, citing Household Records, reference RG11, FHL film 1342258. from Find My Past LTD (LONDON).


 

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