England and Wales Census, 1841 (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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England and Wales Census, 1841 .
This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
England and Wales
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Flag of England
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England and Wales in United Kingdom.svg.png
Record Description
Record Type Census
Collection years 1841
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
The National Archives

What is in the Collection?

This census covers those living in England and Wales on 7 June 1841.

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. The only exception to this is the 1841 census, which was arranged by “hundreds” (administrative subdivisions of land). 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).

The Registrar General created censuses for various reasons including measuring longevity and occupational risks to better design insurance schemes, assessing 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.

Collection Contents

Census records usually contain the following information:

  • Name (given and surname)
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Birth place
  • Place, district, parish and county where census was taken

How Do I Search the Collection?

As you begin your search it is helpful to know the following information:

  • Name of ancestor
  • Approximate year and place of residence

To search this collection by name:
Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.

For tips about searching on-line collections see the wiki article FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.

To search the collection image by image select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page:
⇒Select the appropriate "Country"
⇒Select the appropriate "Parish" which will take you to the images.

What Do I Do Next?

When you have found your family, 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.

  • 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.

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.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • 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 should also be aware that the census may identify persons for whom other records do not exist.
  • Occupations listed can lead you to employment records.

General Information About These Records

There are various marks within the census that can also provide help to identify families. A single forward slash mark "/" meant the end of a family, while two forward slash marks "//" showed the end of the occupants in that one dwelling.

The census taker usually rounded the ages of those older than 15 down to a multiple of 5. Given birth dates are not exact, but often estimated to a range spanning 5 years. Beginning with the 1851 census, the information listed includes names, ages, parish and county of birth, occupation, and 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.

There are missing images in various areas that did not survive. FindMyPast provides a detailed listing as well as Ancestry.co.uk; note that Ancestry's information is further down on the web page. If you are unable to locate your ancestor in this census, it is a good idea to make sure that the area they are living in survived and was digitized; otherwise, you will not be able to locate them in this census record.

How You Can Contribute

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.

Citing this Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.

Collection Citation:

"England and Wales Census, 1841." Database with Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. From "1841 England, Scotland and Wales census." Database and images. findmypast. http://www.findmypast.com : n.d. Citing PRO HO 107, The National Archives, Kew, Surrey.

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

The citation for a record is available with each record in this collection, at the bottom of the record screen. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for England and Wales Census, 1841.

Image Citation:

The image citation is available by clicking on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for England and Wales Census, 1841.