The UK 1891 Census

Home Introduction Census CDs Census Online Case Study 1891 Reviews News Genealogy Links

Introduction

Details the census can provide

Census Enumerators' Books

Full name, exact age, relationship to head of household, sex, occupation, parish and county of birth, medical disabilities and employment status.

Norfolk Census page

Click on the thumbnail to view larger picture

Each householder was required to complete a census schedule giving the address of the household, the names, ages, sex, occupations and places of birth of each individual residing in his or her accommodation. In 1851, householders were asked to give more precise details of the places of birth of each resident, to state their relationship to him or her, marital status and the nature of any disabilities from which they may have suffered. In 1891, householders were asked how many rooms (if less then five) their family occupied and additional occupational data was collected.

The enumerator then collected the census schedules and these were copied into census enumerators' books. The way these are grouped may mean that a road is split over several folios with other streets in between. In this case the street indexes should list a series of folio references.

Although the original census schedules were destroyed many years ago, the books were kept and eventually moved to the PRO archive. The books were then filmed in 1970 to prevent the increasing usage from destroying these fragile records. You may find the odd torn or mutilated page but in general the records have survived in remarkable condition considering the heavy usage they have had.

The Census is arranged by Registration District and Sub-Districts with Street Indexes for areas of high population.

Definitions

Piece number (Normally contains between 100-400 pages).
A PRO reference number referring to a number of Enumeration Districts represented by a file R12-XXXX; e.g. RG12/0100 would be in a file R12-0100.
Enumeration District (Contains about 50 pages). This refers to a group of streets and has a special sheet listing which streets are in the following pages.
Folio (Reference to two pages). The original book pages were stamped with a folio number on every other page in the top right-hand corner.

Census News & Information

Women allowed to enter the Medical Profession from 1876
In the 19th Century, a career as a physician was a highly respected following for a man. Yet it was considered outrageous for any woman to pursue a career in that profession.

 

Case Study - Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin was an English naturalist who achieved lasting fame by producing considerable evidence that the species came about through evolutionary change.

 

Possible Pitfalls in Using the Census
Many people don't realise that the census page images we see are actually transcripts of the household census forms, the details were copied into the books by the enumerators.

 

The Bronte Sisters in the Yorkshire 1841 Census
The three Bronte sisters - Charlotte, Emily and Anne - grew up with their brother Branwell in Parsonage House in Haworth, Yorkshire. They can be found in the 1841 Census.