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Kent Online Parish Clerks

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Census Fact Sheet

General information about the Census

Largely abstracted from Making Use of the Census by Susan Lumas. A PRO (now TNA) publication.

The returns for England and Wales include the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands (referred to as Islands in the British Seas), the Isle of Wight (returned with Hampshire), and the Scilly Isles (returned with Cornwall).   Owing to the personal information contained in the census returns, all census returns are subject to a 100-year closure period.  The 1911 census was the most recent to be opened to the public.

The census districts were largely conterminate with those of the registration districts.  So, you may find it useful to review the map for the registration district for the census area you are researching.

Dates and Population

Year Actual Date of Census (compiled night previous) Population of Kent Population - of England & Wales
1801 March 10th 308,667 8,889,674 - Statistics only required to be reported
1811 May 27th 368,350 10,087,768 - Statistics only required to be reported
1821 May 28th 426,016 11,988,254 - Statistics only required to be reported
1831 May 30th 478,028 13,891,604 - Statistics only required to be reported
1841 June 7th 548,177 15,905,995
1851 March 31st 615,766 17,927,385
1861 April 8th 733,887 20,065,811
1871 April 3rd 848,294 22,712,266
1881 April 4th 977,706 25,974,439
1891 April 6th 1,142,324 29,002,525
1901 April 1st 1,348,841 32,527,843
1911 April 3rd 1,511,806 36,003,276
1921 June 20th 1,645,589 37,886,699
1931 April 26th   39,831,663 - destroyed by fire WWII
1939 Sept 29th   40,651,706 - For issue of ID cards - except service personnel
1941     41,261,192 - No census due to WWII - This figure is an estimate computed by the GB Historical GIS project.
1951 April 8th   43,763,031
1961 April 23rd   46,104,548
1971 April 25th   48,707,471
1981 April 5th   48,517,707
1991 April 21st   51,088,277
2001 April 29th   52,041,916

Document References

The three components of the Census reference numbers are:  The first part relates to the government department which transferred the document, for the Census it is HO 107 (Home Office) for 1841 and 1851 and RG (Registrar General) for all other years.  The second part is a class number, since each group of documents is subdivided into classes relating to different types of documents all being transferred from the same source.

The third part of the reference is what is known as a piece number.  This is simply an archival term for an individual item which may take many shapes and forms, but which when relating to the census means an enumerator's folder or in 1841 and 1851 a box of these folders.

To complete a reference you need to add the particular folio number and the page number.  Before the original returns were microfilmed folio numbers were stamped on the top right-hand corner of every other page.  The rule is that a page without a folio number is a continuation of the folio from the preceding page.  Therefore, that page bears the same folio number when quoted for reference.  Terms used are recto (first side or right side) and verso (reverse side).  In some census indices the folios recto and verso leaves have been designated as:  A to signify the recto of the folio leaf;   and, B to signify the verso of the folio leaf.  The page number is printed on the top of each page and is preceded with the word page, except in 1841 and 1851 when only the number was shown.

Also on the 1841 census there is a book number which is shown after the piece number.

Example of 1841 census reference number:  HO 107/490/1 = Maidstone book 1