England and Wales Census, 1901 (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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Access the records: England and Wales Census, 1901 .
Collection Time Period
This census includes individuals living in England and Wales in 1901.
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.
The information listed in the census includes:
- parish and county of birth
- relationship to the head of the household for each person
The census record may also list the birth country for people born outside of England
How to Use the Record
Begin your search by finding your ancestors in the census index. You will need to know the following:
- Your ancestor’s name.
- The time period when your ancestor lived.
- Where the person lived.
Use the locator information in the index (such as page number or family number) to locate your ancestors in the census. Some on-line indexes, such as indexes to FamilySearch Historical Records, will take you directly to an image. Compare the information in the census to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to compare the information of more than one family or person to make this determination. Be aware that as with any index, transcription errors may occur.
When you have located your ancestor in the census, carefully evaluate each piece of information about them. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. For example:
- Use the age listed to determine an approximate birth date. This date along with the place of birth can help you find a birth record. Birth records often list biographical and marital details about the parents and close relatives other than the immediate family.
- Birth places can tell you former residences and can help to establish a migration pattern for the family.
- Occupations listed can lead you to employment records or other types of records.
It is often helpful to extract the information on all families with the same surname in the same general area. If the surname is uncommon, it is likely that those living in the same area were related.
Be sure to extract all families before you look at other records. The relationships given will help you to organize family groups. The family groupings will help you identify related families when you discover additional information in other records.
Some other helpful tips to keep in mind are:
- Married family members may have lived nearby but in a separate household so you may want to search an entire town, neighboring towns, or even a county.
- You may be able to identify an earlier generation if elderly parents were living with or close by a married child.
- You may be able to identify a younger generation if a young married couple still lived with one of their sets of parents.
- Additional searches may be needed to locate all members of a particular family in the census.
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.
If you do not find the person or family you are looking for try the following:
- Check for spelling variations for the names.
- Make sure you are searching in the right parish.
- Search the surrounding area.
The Registrar General created the national censuses. Enumerators went door to door collecting the data in census books. The 1841 census was taken on June 7. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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Sources of Information for This Collection
“England and Wales Census, 1901,” database, FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org/); from Find My Past Limited, 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, 1901. digital images, From FamilySearch Internet (www.familysearch.org: February 25, 2011). Census Record for Lois Baker--31 March 1901--age 19.
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