United Kingdom Census


Each household was required to complete a census schedule with the details of each person living in the household.

A pre-printed schedule was delivered to the household one week prior to the official date.

If no one was literate in a household, the enumerator (trained official) would help record the details.

The schedules were then collected then copied into the official books. The schedules were then destroyed.

There may have been errors in transcription into the offical books as handwriting may have been misinterpreted.

Details that were recorded in 1841 were:-

  • Address
  • Names
  • Age - for those under 15 years, their exact age was noted, for those over 15 years their age was rounded to the lowest 5 years.
  • Occupation of each individual
  • Whether they were born in that country or not - recorded as a "Y" or "yes" or the country.

The 1841 records can be researched at a number of different subscription websites such as findmypast.co.uk and genesreunited.co.uk

1841 census sample

Image taken from documents I downloaded from ancestry.com - 1841 census

family history

Between 1851 and 1901

A little more information was included in this schedule. Age was given accurately instead of being rounded to the nearest 5 years. The place of birth was given as a town or village and not jsut the county, and more information was included if the person was born outside of the UK.

Details that were recorded between 1851 and 1901 were:-

  • Road or street name, number of house or name of house
  • Whether the house was inhabited or not
  • Name and surname of each person
  • The relationship of each person to the head of the
  • household
  • Married or unmarried
  • Age at last birthday
  • Profession
  • Whether employed or not at the time
  • Place of birth

You can start reseaching the UK records at findmypast.co.uk.

1891 census sample

Image taken from documents dowloaded from my subscription at ancestry.com


  • In 1891 and 1901 information was included whether someone was an employer or employee.
  • In 1851 and 1861 notes were made about people that were blind, deaf or dumb
  • In 1871 to 1891 notes were made about people who were classed as an "Imbecile", an "idiot" or a "lunatic" but in 1901 this was changed to be classified as "feeble-minded"


The 1911 records for England and Wales were taken on Sunday, 2nd April, 1911.

Information recorded was:-

  • name
  • relationship to head of family
  • age at last birthday
  • male or female
  • marriage details - how long married, how many children born (also how many were born alive and how many had now died).
  • occupation (persons over 10 years old)
  • birthplace
  • nationality
  • infirmity (deaf, blind, lunatic)
  • address/place of residence
  • occupation and the industry or service they were connected with
  • employer, worker or working on own account or working at home
  • military rank and unit

Those people that were travelling on this evening were recorded at the abode they were residing. Those residing in institutions such as hospitals, prisons, workhouses, and naval and merchant vessels were also recorded. Military personnel that were stationed overseas were recorded and an attempt was made to record the homeless.

The census records can be researched at a number of different subscription websites such as findmypast.co.uk and genesreunited.co.uk

Genesreunited.co.uk have a number of economical monthly plans for their UK focused website and you can also buy credits for viewing individual records - great value if you are on a budget like so many of us at the moment.

Did you know?

That many women boycotted the 1911 census as a protest to the government's refusal to allow women the right to vote.

Here is an example of the 1911 documents with some great tips on how to read the information recorded that evening:-

Visual guide to the 1911 census

More information about finding your ancestors

Return from UK Records to main Census page

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