UK 1861 Census

Historical Context:19th Century Britain saw a huge rise in laborers moving to cities and leaving the country, as the Industrial Revolution and imported produce made cottage industries and home labor less profitable. With the census being taken on Sunday night by local enumerators, any who worked during the evenings who came home on Monday morning were not accounted for. However, ships in port were enumerated through special schedules.

The 1861 census was taken on the 7th of April and includes the following information for each person enumerated: name, address, relation to head of family, marital status, gender, age, profession and birthplace.

Questions Asked in the 1861 Census
Column 1 No. of schedule, numbered from 1 consecutively per book
Column 2 Name of street, place or road, and name or number of house
Column 3 Houses; separate columns for inhabited and uninhabited or being built (entered as 'U' or 'B')
Column 4 Name and surname
Column 5 Relationship to head of family
Column 6 Condition; marital status
Column 7 Age; separate columns for males and females
Column 8 Rank, profession or occupation
Column 9 Where born; county/place
Column 10 Whether blind, deaf-and-dumb

Why This Database is so Valuable
Census records are valuable since they can tell you where a person lived at a certain place and time. Censuses were conducted by the federal government and will offer a variety of information, depending on year. Census records can answer questions like where your ancestors were living at the time the census was taken, who they were living with, what their occupations were, who their neighbors were, if they had any brothers and sisters, what their ages were at the time of the census and if they had any disabilities.

Next steps
With the information you gain from these census records, you will have the information you need to search for vital records in the locality where you found your ancestor. Also, the fact that census returns are taken every ten years also allows you to track the movements of our ancestors through time as they perhaps move house, get married, have children or even change occupations.


Elaine Collins, Commercial Director, Find My Past Ltd., talks about what can be found in the United Kingdom census records.

Elaine Collins, Commercial Director, Find My Past Ltd., talks about how the census records were compiled.