A Useful Guide to British, Scottish, Welsh and Irish Census Records | Genealogy

A Useful Guide to British, Scottish, Welsh and Irish Census Records | Genealogy

A Useful Guide to British, Scottish, Welsh and Irish Census Records | Genealogy

British census records, what are they? What census records are available? Why are they important? What can they tell you about your ancestors? and some important dates to watch out for now and in the future. Census records are some of the most important resources for British family history. They help you track how your family changed over time and reveal information about your ancestors that you won’t find anywhere else. Historical censuses are held by The National Archives and are also available as online records on sites such as Ancestry and Find my Past What is a census? Censuses are recorded by governments periodically and act as population reports. The official meaning of a census from the Oxford Dictionary says it’s; “the process of officially counting something, especially a country’s population, and recording various facts.” Taking a census usually involves all householders completing census forms that list information about their lives and their family on a specific day periodically. A census taker or enumerator delivers and collects the household forms in their assigned area. Why are censuses important? The recorded population data is used by governments for planning things like healthcare, education and employment services at a national, regional and local level. From a genealogy perspective, historical census records are invaluable snapshots of your relatives at a given point in time. How often is the census? In the UK, censuses have been taken on a given census day every 10 years since 1801 with just one exception. The 1941 Census didn’t happen due to the Second World War. That wasn’t the only problem to affect census records during wartime. A fire in 1942 completely destroyed the 1931 Census for England and Wales. For family history, a useful way to bridge that unfortunate records gap is by using the 1939 Register as a census substitute. When is the next British census? The next British census is scheduled to take place in 2031, a decade on from the most recent one on 21 March 2021. Statisticians have predicted that the 2021 Census could be the last of its kind as cheaper alternatives for gathering data are explored. The 2021 Scotland Census has been postponed until 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Completing the census every decade is your chance to leave your mark and help shape the future. Just imagine, generations from now, your descendants might be checking it to find out more about you. UK census dates throughout history From 1801 to 1831, census records were used to create summaries of localities and later destroyed. So, for family historians, the full censuses dating from 1841 to 1921 are the ones of real interest. Here’s a brief summary on the history of British censuses and what these detailed family records can tell you. 1801 Census The first UK census was taken on 10 March 1801. Only fragments like 1801 Kent, Dartford Census include details useful for tracing family history. 1811 Census Taken on 27 May 1811, only summary counts of households were collected so it’s not very useful from a genealogical perspective. 1821 Census Like those before it, only counts were taken for this census which took place on 28 May that year. You’ll find some exceptions that do include householder details for areas like Kent, Westminster and Orkney. 1831 Census This census was taken on 30 May 1831. Excerpts from Westminster, Sheffield and Shrewsbury survive, among others. 1841 Census The first fully surviving UK census was taken on 6 June 1841. The 1841 Census can reveal useful information for your family tree including: Names Ages Genders Addresses Birthplaces and usually as a county perspective 1851 Census The 1851 census took place on 30 March that year. As well as all of the information included in the 1841 Census, this edition also features more information on your family’s relationships. Each entry includes: Relationship to head of household Marital status 1861 Census Taken on 7 April 1861, this census includes all of the same information as the one that was recorded a decade earlier. This is perfect for tracing who used to live at your address or how your local area has changed over time. 1871 Census Another UK census was recorded in England, Scotland and Wales on 2 April 1871. The information that was captured in the previous two censuses was sought again in 1871. #censusrecords #1921census #britishcensus #genealogy

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A Useful Guide to British, Scottish, Welsh and Irish Census Records | Genealogy

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