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 1901 census was the most recent to be opened to the public in April 2001. The 1911 census will not be fully opened to the public until the end of 2010.
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.
As of 13 January 2009, The National Archives agreed to a release of much of the information on the 1911 census through the web site FindMyPast following a successful application made pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act. However, the archives has obscured all contents of the infirmities column until the time that the 1911 census is fully released at the end of 2010. Searches of the 1911 index are free on FindMyPast and returns the results based on registration district of residence. An advanced search is available that will permit a search for a person based on year of birth, place of birth and other member of the household, thereby enabling a researcher to reasonably accurately find an ancestor who bore a common name. Pay-per-view credits or subscription enrollment is required in order to view the original householder's schedule. A view of the original page will expend 30 credits on a pay-per-view basis - a bit on the steep side, in my opinion, given that a minimum credit purchase only provides one with 60 credits.
Dates and Population
||Actual Date of Census (compiled night previous)
||Population of Kent ||Population - of England & Wales
||8,889,674 - Statistics only required to be reported|
||10,087,768 - Statistics only required to be reported|
||11,988,254 - Statistics only required to be reported|
||13,891,604 - Statistics only required to be reported|
||39,831,663 - destroyed by fire WWII|
||40,651,706 - For issue of ID cards - except service personnel|
||41,261,192 - No census due to WWII - This figure is an estimate computed by the GB Historical GIS project.|
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.
- RG 1-3 are the indexes of the Birth, Marriage and Death registers still held by the Office of National Statistics;
- RG 4 - nonconformist registers (gathered in 1837);
- RG 5 - certificates of Dr. Williams' library;
- RG 6 - Quaker registers;
- RG 7 - Fleet marriage registers;
- RG 8 - unauthenticated nonconformist registers (gathered in 1857);
- RG 9 - 1861 census returns;
- RG 10 - 1871 census returns;
- RG 11 - 1881 census returns;
- RG 12 - 1891 census returns;
- RG 13 - 1901 census returns;
- RG 18 reference maps of registrar's districts;
- RG 19 correspondence and papers;
- RG 27 specimens of forms and documents; and,
- RG 30 reports and population abstracts.
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