England and Wales Census, 1871 (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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England
Wales

FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.
Access the records: England and Wales Census, 1871 .
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What is in the Collection?

The 1871 census taken on the night of 2 April gave the total population as 26,072,036. FamilySearch records indicate that the collection contains 1,365,706. Please note that the description of the collection states that it is only 26% complete. This census is in the process of being indexed.

Census schedules consist of large sheets with pre-printed 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).

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. Non-citizens were also included.

The following civil parishes, townships, or places in the registration district of Gower in Glamorgan and the Sub-District of Gower Western are missing:

  • Registration Sub-District 2B Gower Western
  • Porteynon
  • Penrice
  • Oxwich
  • Nicholaston
  • Penmaen (3)
  • Reynoldston
  • Llandewy
  • Knelston

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.

The British government has taken censuses every 10 years since 1801, except for 1941. This census covers those living in England and Wales on 2 April 1871.

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.

Collection Content

Sample Images

England and Wales 1871 Census.jpg

Census records usually contain the following information:

  • Place, district, parish and county where census was taken
  • Given name and surname of each household member
  • Relationship to head of household
  • Birthplace of each household member
  • Age, gender and marital status of each household member
  • Occupation
  • Physical impairments

How Do I Search the Collection?

To begin your search in the census, it would be helpful if you knew 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.

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. Remember:

  • 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.
  • Married family members may have lived nearby, but in a separate household.
  • 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.

What if I Can't Find Who I'm Looking For?

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.
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Don't overlook FHL Place England items or FHL Keyword England items in the FamilySearch Library Catalog. For other libraries (local and national) or to gain access to items of interest, see England Archives and Libraries.
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Don't overlook FHL Place Wales items or FHL Keyword Wales items in the FamilySearch Library Catalog. For other libraries (local and national) or to gain access to items of interest, see Wales Archives and Libraries.

Known Issues with This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Related Websites

Related Wiki Articles

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, 1871." Database with Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. From "1871 England, Scotland and Wales census." Database and images. findmypast. http://www.findmypast.com : n.d. Citing PRO RG 10. 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, 1871.

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, 1871.