| The 1841 Census of England & Wales: the most accurate version is available on British Origins!
The 1841 Census of England & Wales available for searching on Origins Network is the most accurate available online. A typical search on the British Origins 1841 census index will return an average of 20% more records than on other online census databases. Due to the much higher accuracy of our data you have a much better chance of finding that elusive ancestor on the British Origins website than elsewhere. Searching elsewhere you have a less than 80% chance of finding whom you're looking for. Coupled to our NameX name variant software, Origins Network offers far and away the best option for searching the 1841 census. You can view a comparison of 1841 census data accuracy.
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The 1841 Census is organised by property and household(s) within that property. The 1841 census records are searchable by name, age, birth place, parish and county. The index records include the source record references, so that users with access to CDs of the original census records can use the 1841 census index alongside these CDs.
The collection includes a full index to and digitised images of the original 1841 Census records for all counties in England and Wales. See counts for each county.
Contents of the original 1841 census returns
Like all subsequent censuses, the 1841 census is organised by property and household(s) within that property. But the amount of information is a little less than the later ones, with the main limitation being the limited information concerning place of birth.
For every property the following information is given:
For inhabited properties, each household is given a
- Road, street, town or village and number or name of property
- Rural properties may simply be referred to as, for example, "Cottage"
- Whether inhabited
For each person in a household the following is given:
- Household No
- This is not present in the original documents but has been inserted during the data capture. It allows the display of the records for all members of a household. If there are multiple households within a property, each household will have a different Household No.
See an example of the returns
- First name and Last name
- For babies this may be given as days, weeks, or months. Ages for people older than 15 years were supposed to have been given to the nearest 5 years, but exact ages are commonly shown.
- There are separate columns in the original documents for age of males and age of females. This has been been taken into consideration when capturing the index data, so allowing you to be able search on sex.
- Where born
- This is limited to: in the same county, in another county of England or Wales, Scotland, Ireland, or foreign
A convention is used to separate entries for one house and also multiple households within one house. You will see small diagonal line just before some forenames. A double line separate houses; a single line separates households within a house. See example page.
Place name information A variety of place name data can appear on the header for each census page. The most useful ones are probably the following:
Whether the above information has been entered appears to depend on how carefully the census returning officers fulfilled their duties. There is frequently a failure to provide place names (especially the parish) on pages following the first page dealing with properties in that place; we have tried to deal with such ommissions in the index data.
- Civil parish: This should in theory always be present, though the person who originally completed the records often missed this out. (We have tried to ensure that the index records always contain the parish.) However, if the parish name is missing from the header on the census record pages it can usually be determined from the description within the Registration District Details.
- City or Borough: This does not always appear.
- Township: This does not always appear.
- Place: More or less the same as the "address" field in later censuses, but may contain the name of a village or hamlet rather than a street or house name. Street numbers are rarely given.
Registration District Details These details, which appear at the start of each set of census records, give the Superintendent Registrar's District, Registrar's District, Enumeration District Number, and a written description of what area the district covers (parish, towns, etc).
The digitised images of the census returns have been created from copies of microfilmed images of source documents, provided by The National Archives. The images are all "grey scale" to maximise legibility and in the great majority of cases the entries are legible. But the quality of the microfilm is generally not very high, and the digitised images can often be quite difficult to read. Images may also be difficult to read where original documents were damaged or badly faded.
If from your viewing the images any of the index data is incorrect, please advise us.
What do the index records include?
The following data have been included in the index records:
- County: This is the actual county recorded on the originals, and not the nominal county used for admistrative convenience during the census and subsequently for reference purposes by The National Archives. For example, the "Gloucestershire" records include the Bristol suburb of Bedminster, which is in Somerset. Bristol itself is indexed as in "Somerset", which is not strictly correct (Bristol has a unique status, though is often included in Gloucestershire), but this ensures that searching Somerset will include all the Bristol records.
- Civil parish: This should always be present unless absent from the original returns; ie even if the actual census page does not include the parish, it should normally appear in the index records.
- Township: Not always present.
- Superintendent Registrar's District: Normally present unless missing from the original
- Registrar's District: Normally present unless missing from the original
- Enumeration District Number: Normally present unless missing from the original.
- City or Borough: If present on the original page.
- Place: usually the address, but can contain the name of a village or hamlet rather than a street or house name.
- Last name
- First name
- Title: If included in the person's name (eg Reverend)
- Misc: Information in the Name column which doesn't fit anywhere else, eg "Jnr" or "Sen"
- Sex: M or F
- Birth County: the county name, if born in the census county, "OUT OF COUNTY" if born in another English or Welsh county, SCOTLAND, IRELAND, FOREIGN, or AT SEA. In some cases if born abroad the country name may be given.
- TNA Ref: This includes the TNA class (HO107 for the 1841 census), and the piece number, which identifies the microfilm roll containing the imnages of the original census returns.
- Image No: This is the sequential image on the microfilm roll.
- Folio No: This is the number of the folio (or sheet) printed on the original recto pages. Not always present.
- Page No: This if the page number printed or written on the original pages. The page and folio numbers can assist identification of the microfilm images.
- Entry No: This is the sequential number of the census entry on a page. This index value was is simply to aid location of the actual entry on the original page, and does not exist on the original.
All data entry from the census records is by IIM Inc (www.capturedata.com). The index data is copyright of IIM Inc. All rights reserved.
Census images are reproduced by courtesy of The National Archives, London, England. The National Archives gives no warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or fitness for purpose of the information provided. Images may be used for purposes of research, private study or education. Applications for any other use should be made to The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU. Infringement of the above may result in legal action.