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A GUIDE TO CENSUSES AND CIVIL REGISTRATION
« on: Sunday 20 February 11 17:41 GMT (UK) »

A GUIDE TO CENSUSES AND CIVIL REGISTRATION



CENSUSES



Click on any of the blue underlined hyperlinks to view any information you are interested in.



From 1801 onwards, information about the population of the United Kingdom has been collected every ten years by means of a census, with the exception of 1941 due to World War Two (though on 29th September 1939 there was a National Registration which contained information very similar to a census). The 1931 census was destroyed in a fire in 1942.


Censuses are subject to the 100 year ruling though most of the information on the census household schedules for 1911 was released two years early.


The National Archives’ podcast on COUNTING THE PEOPLE and TNA information on LOOKING FOR RECORDS OF A CENSUS and their in-depth guide CENSUS RETURNS are all useful starting points to understanding census records.
 




CENSUSES 1801-1831


The first four censuses were essentially head counts which named just the head of household.

The 1801 census provide information on the number of inhabited and uninhabited houses in the parish and how many families occupied them. A similar format was followed for the censuses of 1811, 1821 and 1831. In 1821 a question relating to age was added and in 1831 a question on occupations, though some earlier censuses may give information on head of household occupations beyond a general tally of agricultural, trade and other.


Nationally none of these first four censuses survives but locally some census parish returns do survive and some, but not all, have been indexed.



The dates of the first four censuses


10th March 1801     27th May 1811     28th May 1821     30th May 1831


The population of England and Wales at the time of each census


1801 - 9,053,170  (Essex 226,437)         
1811 - 10,164,256 (Essex 252,473)           
1821 - 12,000,236 (Essex 289,424)         
1831 - 13,896,797 (Essex 317,507)



You can check which early known censuses for England have survived and where they are held   


CENSUS SCHEDULES AND LISTINGS, 1801-1831: AN INTRODUCTION AND GUIDE



Examples of early CENSUSES from 1801 and 1821



ARDLEIGH early censuses 1796, 1811 and 1821 online






Census information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

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A GUIDE TO CENSUSES AND CIVIL REGISTRATION
« Reply #1 on: Sunday 20 February 11 17:41 GMT (UK) »

A GUIDE TO CENSUSES AND CIVIL REGISTRATION



CENSUSES


CENSUSES 1841-1911



THE PROCESS


For every census each area of the country was divided into DIVISIONS. Within each division, there were COUNTIES. Each division was divided into SUPERINTENDENT REGISTRAR'S DISTRICTS, based on the poor law unions that extended over county boundaries. ‘Whenever a District or Union extends into more than one County, it is assigned wholly to the County in which the greater portion of the population of such District is located’.
Each SR District was divided into SUB-DISTRICTS. Each Sub-District was divided into PARISHES, TOWNSHIPS OR PLACES. These 'parishes' were then divided into ENUMERATION DISTRICTS e.g. 1a, 1b, 1c. Each Enumeration District comprised a number of pages in the census enumerators' books which varied in size e.g. in 1851 from 16 pages to 72.

 
In the days leading up to a census night an enumerator delivered individually numbered household schedules to each household in his district. On the morning after census night, the enumerator went round to each house and collected the forms. He had a duty to ensure that all the forms were completed properly and collected, even if this meant going back to some houses many times and helping to fill in the schedules with whoever was available to supply the information. In towns and cities in particular, with levels of illiteracy, various accents, dialects and languages spoken and even just a lack of teeth, meant understanding what was said and written, in order to copy the information from the schedules into the census enumerators’ books was a mammoth task for the enumerators. Spellings on censuses can be somewhat flexible.

Once all the household schedules were gathered in the enumerator, perhaps tired and working by candlelight, copied the information from each schedule onto large sheets, which were bound into volumes with a folio number stamped on the top corner of each right hand page. These volumes were then delivered to government statisticians whose job it was to extract important data about the population as a whole. In the course of this process, they often made marks and notes on the pages, which can cause confusion when we try to decipher the information. The original household schedules were destroyed. The 1911 census was the first one where the household schedules were kept and not copied.

It is understandable how errors crept into the system. People, for various reasons, were not always accurate with the information they gave, sometimes intentionally, but also because ages and dates of birth were much less important then and children had to rely on what they were told by their parents or what they remembered about where they were born sometimes confusing where they grew up with where they were actually born.



The National Archives podcast SOLVING CENSUS PROBLEMS is a talk on ‘a practical approach to overcoming the most common problems faced by family historians when using the 19th century census returns.’



The date of census nights for each year of the nationally released censuses


1841 6th June     1851 30th March     1861 7th April     1871 2nd April     1881 3rd April 
1891 5th April     1901 31st March     1911 2nd April 


The population of England and Wales at the time of each census


1841 - 15,914,148 (Essex 344,979)
1851 - 17,927,609 (Essex 369,318)           
1861 - 20,066,224 (Essex 404,851)         
1871 - 22,712,266 (Essex 466,436)
1881 - 25,974,439 (Essex 576,434)       
1891 - 29,002,525 (Essex 784,258)
1901 - 32,527,843 (Essex 1,083,998)       
1911 - 36,070,492 (Essex 1,350,881)


THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES NUMBERING SYSTEM


The TNA has a numbering system to identify the censuses. 1841 and 1851 have the CALL letters, HO - Home Office and the 1861-1911 censuses, RG - Registrar General. These initials then have a CLASS number for each census:


1841 HO 107     1851 HO 107     1861 RG 9     1871 RG 10     1881 RG 11     1891 RG 12     1901 RG 13     1911 RG 14


The number after this code is known as a PIECE NUMBER and refers to a particular bound volume of enumerators' books. The FOLIO number comprises two pages within each book.





Census information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk


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A GUIDE TO CENSUSES AND CIVIL REGISTRATION
« Reply #2 on: Sunday 20 February 11 17:42 GMT (UK) »

A GUIDE TO CENSUSES AND CIVIL REGISTRATION



CENSUSES



INFORMATION ON EACH CENSUS



The 1841 census gives the names of each person at an address on census night. Ages are usually rounded down to the nearest 5 for all those over the age of 15, though occasionally exact ages are given for everyone. Gender and occupations are given, but not the relationships between each person in a household. Exact places of birth are not given, only whether a person was born in the county or not, or whether born in Ireland (I), Scotland (S) or Foreign parts (F). There was a belief at this time, that the census was a way of gathering data for the poor law and that people might in consequence end up being sent back to their place of birth if they fell on hard times. This could be the reason, as well as a hazy knowledge of county geography, that many people answered yes to the county of birth question, when later censuses show this was not the case.


From the 1851 census onwards more detail is included. On this census everyone had their age shown (from their last birthday). The relationship to the head of the household was given, marital status, the place of birth and whether the person had a disability. From 1861 onwards, the censuses have sections for people on board ships. In 1891 an extra column was added to the Welsh census for language spoken (English, Welsh or both). The 1911 census includes length of present marriage and children born to that marriage, living, or deceased. Householders in Wales for the first time were given the option of filling in the form in Welsh or English.
Some inmates in institutions, particularly on earlier censuses, may only be recorded by initials.


The information collected in each census 1841-1901 is given in detail on GENDOCS

The guidance given to census enumerators for each census 1841-1901 is on ROOTSWEB


Abbreviations and definitions of census terms can be found on these websites.

GENDOCS

CENSUS HELPER


Information on the enumeration of institutions, the army, navy and merchant vessels can be found on the GENDOCS website for 1841-1901. 


The 1911 census also included Royal Navy ships at sea, and overseas military establishments.

You can listen to The National Archives podcast on INTRODUCING THE 1911 CENSUS here.





Census information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

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A GUIDE TO CENSUSES AND CIVIL REGISTRATION
« Reply #3 on: Sunday 20 February 11 17:43 GMT (UK) »

A GUIDE TO CENSUSES AND CIVIL REGISTRATION



CENSUSES



KNOWN ISSUES WITH CENSUS RECORDS 1841-1911



1841-1871


The surviving national census returns are not entirely complete for the earlier censuses.
See FINDMYPAST for further details.
 


The following parts of the censuses for 1851 for Essex are known not to have survived.

HO107/1785 covering Aythorp-Roothing, Bardfield-Saling, Barnston, Broxted, Chickney, Easton Lodge, Felstead, Great Bardfield, Great Canfield, Great Dunmow, Great Easton, Hatfield-Broad-Oak or Hatfield Regis, High Easter, High Roothing, Leaden-Roothing, Lindsell, Little Bardfield, Little Canfield, Little Easton, Little Dunmow, Margaret Roothing, Morrell-Roothing, Stebbing, Takeley, Thaxted, Tilty and White Roothing




1901

The 1901 census was held at the time of the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899–1902) when many men volunteered and were enlisted into the military. In consequence of the war in South Africa, more men were out of the country and not included on the census.



1911
The Women's Freedom League, a suffragist organization campaigning for female suffrage in the United Kingdom, organized a boycott of the 1911 census.

The 1911 census was released two years early as it was conducted before the passing of the 1920 Census Act which restricts access to censuses for a hundred years. Sensitive information about disabilities in the final column of the 1911 census will remain hidden until 2012.
Details of the ruling on the early release of the 1911 census can be found here on YOUR ARCHIVES





ACCESS TO CENSUS RECORDS 1841-1911


The Historical Street Project at YOUR ARCHIVES has online street indexes to the censuses of England and Wales for 1841-1871 and 1891. The indexes indicate where sections of the censuses 1841-1871 are missing (have not survived). 
The 1881 census and 1911 censuses can be searched by street addresses, as can the 1901 census (The Official 1901 Census Website only). The 1881 and the 1901 censuses (The Official 1901 Census Website only) can be searched by occupation.



Subscription or pay to view websites which hold some or all of the censuses 1841-1911 (in alphabetical order)


ANCESTRY


BRITISH ORIGINS


FINDMYPAST


GenesReunited


THE GENEALOGIST 



1901 census only - THE OFFICIAL 1901 CENSUS WEBSITE


The 1911 census is fully indexed on FINDMYPAST and GenesReunited (both owned by the same company) 

The 1911 census summary books can be found on ANCESTRY
The summary books provide the surname and title of the head household – Mr, Mrs etc.,  the address and type of property and the number of males and females living in the household.
The indexed census images are on ANCESTRY and THE GENEALOGIST 


Because of copyright reasons you cannot at present request a search of the 1911 census on Rootschat. You must search for yourself.
   



 
Census information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

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A GUIDE TO CENSUSES AND CIVIL REGISTRATION
« Reply #4 on: Sunday 20 February 11 17:44 GMT (UK) »
A GUIDE TO CENSUSES AND CIVIL REGISTRATION





FREE ACCESS WEBSITES



The 1881 census courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is free to view at FAMILYSEARCH where there are also indexes to the other censuses 1841, 1851, 1861, 1891, 1901 and 1911 supplied by Findmypast 


FREECEN is a project where volunteers are transcribing census returns 1841-1891. The ultimate aim is to provide a ‘free-to-view’ online searchable database of the nineteenth century United Kingdom census returns including COVERAGE so far.



THE FOXEARTH AND DISTRICT LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY (North Essex border parishes)

ABRIDGE AND LAMBOURNE 1841

BLACKMORE 1841

EARLS COLNE 1841 and 1851

HENHAM 1841-1871, 1891 & 1901

KELVEDON HATCH 1841-1891

MISTLEY 1871

MOUNT BURES 1871

WAKES COLNE 1871



If anyone knows of any others for Essex please send me a pm




Most local Family History Societies have indexes to some of the censuses in their areas
See FEDERATION OF FAMILY HISTORY SOCIETIES webpages for further details and links.


EAST of LONDON FAMILY HISTORY SOCIETY

ESSEX FAMILY HISTORY SOCIETY

WALTHAM FOREST FAMILY HISTORY SOCIETY




Census information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

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A GUIDE TO CENSUSES AND CIVIL REGISTRATION
« Reply #5 on: Sunday 20 February 11 17:45 GMT (UK) »

A GUIDE TO CENSUSES AND CIVIL REGISTRATION



CENSUSES



CENSUSES 1921- 2001



1921

The 1921 census like all subsequent surviving censuses is still held by the Office for National Statistics and was conducted under the regulations enacted by the 1920 Census Act. This act still applies and contains a statutory prohibition on disclosure. This means that if any Freedom of Information requests are received by the ONS for the 1921 census, the exemption found in S44 of the FOI Act will be invoked to maintain census confidentiality. The Information Commissionaire’s Office DECISION NOTICE 25th November 2008 upheld the prohibition on disclosure.

The stated government position from the ONS is "its intention to release the entirety of the 1921 census returns in 2022, in accordance with the non-statutory '100 year rule' which was adopted to reflect this undertaking of confidentiality".



1931

On the night of 19th December 1942, there was a fire at a store in Hayes, Middlesex the responsibility of the Office of Works. The storehouse contained a large amount of furniture, but in addition it also contained the CENSUS RECORDS for England and Wales for 1931. They were destroyed. The fire was not caused by enemy action.



The dates of the 1921 and 1931 censuses


19th June 1921     26th April 1931 


The population of England and Wales at the time of each census

1921 - 37,886,699 (Essex 1,470,257)         
1931 - 39,952,377 (Essex 1,755,459)         
 



The 1939 National Identity Card

A census of the United Kingdom was due to be taken in early 1941, but this never happened because of World War Two. At the outbreak of the war in 1939, National Identity Cards were issued to everyone resident in the United Kingdom. National Registration Day was 29th September 1939. The information gathered for each person was more basic than that required for a twentieth century census, containing only the name, gender, date of birth, marital condition, occupation and whether a member of the armed forces or the reserves.
Access to this information is not restricted by the 1920 Census Act. Since national identity cards were not abolished until February 1952 it was initially unclear whether the information collected in 1939 could in anyway be separated from the subsequent updates which occurred during the following 13 years.
Information for 1939 can now be obtained, but only for individuals who have died and are now recorded as deceased at THE NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE INFORMATION CENTRE



1966
A mini census was held on 24th April based on a 10% sample of the population. This is the only time a ‘national’ five yearly census has been held.


1991

Some people avoided the 1991 census. It was estimated that up to one million people were not counted in 1991, as there was a widespread belief the government would use the census information to enforce the poll tax (a tax which in the end was never introduced).


2001

Though a fine of up to £1,000 was put in place for this census it is estimated only about 94% of the population complied and filled in a census form.



Dates of the remaining completed censuses


8th April 1951     23rd April 1961     25th April 1971     5th April 1981     21st April 1991     29th April 2001



The population of England and Wales at the time of each census

1951 – 43,639,050 (Essex 2,044,964)         
1961 – 46,627,323 (Essex 2,288,058)   

In 1965 the new London boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Newham, Redbridge and Waltham Forest became part of Greater London and ceased to be part of the county of Essex.
 
1971 – 48,601,304 (Essex 1,358,028)         
1981 – 49,414,000 (Essex 1,461,890)         
1991 – 50,879,165 (Essex 1,528,577)   

From 1998 the Unitary Authorities of Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock were no longer part of the county of Essex
 
2001 - 52,041,916 (Essex 1,310,922)       




2011 CENSUS

The date of the census of 2011 was 27th March. For the first time it will be possible to complete the census form online. The details of this census are at THE OFFICE FOR NATIONAL STATISTICS





Census information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

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A GUIDE TO CENSUSES AND CIVIL REGISTRATION
« Reply #6 on: Sunday 20 February 11 17:46 GMT (UK) »

A GUIDE TO CENSUSES AND CIVIL REGISTRATION



CIVIL REGISTRATION



BACKGROUND


Civil registration began in England and Wales on 1st July 1837
Before the start of civil registration entries for baptisms, marriages and burials can be found in parish registers.


In 1927, civil registration began for adoptions and stillbirths.
Directgov and the General Register Office give further information on these indexes.

STILLBIRTHS

ADOPTIONS

The Federation of Family History Societies has research tips for RESEARCHING ADOPTED PERSONS IN ENGLAND AND WALES
 
 
   
Barbara Dixon’s REGISTRATION WEBPAGE website is very informative about the sort of information that can be found in English BMD certificates. 
Information not included on Barbara Dixon’s webpage is the 1904 guidance issued by the Registrar General for registering births that occurred in workhouses. In an attempt to remove any stigma associated with such births, only the address was be included with the name of the institution omitted. In 1919 similar guidance was given for deaths and the practice of putting a letter W in the margin of the entry was also discouraged (indicating workhouse). A list of workhouse ADDRESSES.


You can listen to The National Archives podcast on RECORDS OF BIRTHS, MARRIAGES AND DEATHS ‘exploring the sources available for searching for births, marriages and deaths, both at The National Archives and elsewhere, and featuring fascinating examples of birth, marriage and death records’ and read the TNA guide LOOKING FOR RECORDS OF BIRTH, MARRIAGE AND DEATH IN ENGLAND AND WALES here.




WHERE TO ORDER CERTIFICATES FROM


You can order Birth, Marriage and Death certificates directly from two sources


GENERAL REGISTER OFFICE (GRO) or local register offices


There is further information on ORDERING CERTIFICATES FROM THE GRO at Directgov and at FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS at the GRO.
 

 
You can search for LOCAL REGISTER OFFICES using Directgov’s search facilities and map.
Genuki also has a webpage with addresses, phone numbers and emails for LOCAL REGISTER OFFICES


Some local registrars and local family history societies have indexed the BMDs they hold. You can find them through UKBMD sites with INDEXES BASED ON ORIGINAL REGISTER OFFICE RECORDS



Over the years with changes in population registration districts have changed names and boundaries, so if you are ordering a certificate from a local register office you will need to check which office now holds the records.
Genuki has tracked the changes to REGISTRATION DISTRICTS IN ENGLAND AND WALES (1837-1974)

ENGLAND JURISDICTIONS FOR 1851 is a map of the counties of England produced by Family Search. The map shows various levels of county divisions including parish and civil registration districts.





Census information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

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A GUIDE TO CENSUSES AND CIVIL REGISTRATION
« Reply #7 on: Sunday 20 February 11 17:48 GMT (UK) »

A GUIDE TO CENSUSES AND CIVIL REGISTRATION




CIVIL REGISTRATION



THE GRO INDEX


Where a marriage took place in a church and the church has deposited its registers you can find these records in the local archives. When marriages took place in a church, a copy of the church entries were made and deposited with the local registrar at every quarter. The registrar then made a copy of these certificates and sent them to the GRO with the quarterly copies of the certificates for the births, marriages and deaths that were registered at the local register office.

The GRO indexed all the certificates, which arrived from the local registry offices into large yearly quarterly ledgers.


MAR (January, February, March)
JUN (April, May, June)
SEPT (July, August, September)
DEC (October, November, December)


To index all the BMDs in England and Wales from 1837 onwards was a massive clerical undertaking and all done by hand. Inevitably, errors crept into the system. There were no checks when the ledgers were first handwritten, or when as some of them began to fall apart over the years, when typed copies were made and the old ledgers thrown away.


Some research entitled by the author A COMEDY OF ERRORS has been done on the completeness of the GRO indexes for marriage records 1837-1899.

You can listen here to The National Archives podcast on CIVIL REGISTRATION AND BEYOND ‘revealing some of the little-known facts and stories behind the records’. 


Information on the GRO’s stalled DIGITISATION PROJECT to scan and digitise birth, marriage, and death registration records for England and Wales from 1837 to present day, to eradicate as many errors as possible in the present index and replace it with a new online index, can be found on the website of The Home Office



The GRO index gives the year and quarter as well as the registration district the event occurred in, not to be confused with church parishes, since all registration districts covered wider areas which contained many churches and different places.
The index has a volume number and page number, which cross-references to the GRO volumes the certificates are held in. Several certificates are held on each page.


For births, the mother’s maiden name (not necessarily the name she married in) appears in the index from the September quarter of 1911 onwards.
For marriages the spousal surname appears in the indexes from the March quarter of 1912.
For deaths, the age at death was added from the June quarter of 1866 and the date of birth from 1969.

Facsimiles of the information found on certificates can be found at Directgov

BIRTH up to 1st April 1969

DEATH up to 1st April 1969

MARRIAGE






Census information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

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A GUIDE TO CENSUSES AND CIVIL REGISTRATION
« Reply #8 on: Sunday 20 February 11 17:49 GMT (UK) »

A GUIDE TO CIVIL REGISTRATION AND CENSUSES IN ENGLAND AND WALES




CIVIL REGISTRATION



ACCESS TO THE GRO INDEX


Volunteers have been transcribing the GRO indexes at FREEBMD

The work is far from complete for the C20th but FreeBMD have some useful COVERAGE CHARTS to show the progress.

As with all transcriptions errors do occur and FreeBMD encourages corrections where errors in the transcriptions are found. Transcribing the GRO marriage indexes has allowed further cross-referencing of marriage partners and highlighted some of the errors in the index for volume and page numbers. FreeBMD allows you to view the ORIGINAL GRO IMAGES transcribed so far.


FreeBMD is only transcribing the ‘domestic’ GRO civil registration indexes for BMD. The GRO overseas indexes which include the military indexes, whether the event took place abroad or not, can be found online at subscription/pay as you view websites (in alphabetical order).


BMDINDEX


FAMILYRELATIVES


FINDMYPAST


GenesReunited
 

THE GENEALOGIST


These websites also hold the ‘domestic’ GRO indexes as do these subscription/pay as you view websites


ANCESTRY


BMDINDEX


FAMILYRELATIVES


FINDMYPAST


GenesReunited
 

THE GENEALOGIST


Online indexes end in 2005. There are seven archives across the country that currently hold complete sets of the index including post 2005.


Birmingham Central Library

Bridgend Reference and Information Library

City of Westminster Archives Centre

Manchester City Library

Newcastle City Library

Plymouth Central Library

The British Library


Further information can be found at Directgov USING THE GENERAL REGISTER OFFICE TO RESEARCH FAMILY HISTORY   



The National Archives and the London Metropolitan Archives in London supply useful in-depth guides for BMDs which took place at sea and abroad.

LOOKING FOR RECORDS OF A BIRTH, MARRIAGE OR DEATH OF A BRITISH NATIONAL AT SEA OR ABROAD

BIRTHS, MARRIAGES AND DEATHS OVERSEAS

You can listen to The National Archives podcast on TRACING BIRTHS AND DEATHS AT SEA and MARRIAGES AT SEA - FACT OR FICTION 
 




The National Archives also has detailed information on LOOKING FOR RECORDS OF A BIRTH, MARRIAGE OR DEATH IN THE ARMED FORCES





Census information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk