Genealogy Help

Census Returns

The 1891 Census

1891 England Census for Winston Churchill

Few changes from previous censes, but there is more emphasis on employment. The census was taken on the night of 5 April 1891 gave the total population of Great Britain as 33,028,172. The example shown displays the household of Winston Churchill.

The elements are:

1 - Town and Parish

This shows you where the census was taken. It can be confusing in larger towns and cities, where the parish appears more important than the town name.

2 - Address

Addresses can be limited to the village or town name, or to a local derivation of it, for example - 'Chapel End'.

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3 - Houses

Was the house inhabited or not? This is useful if the town or village is not recorded with house numbers. It asks for a distinction between 'U', uninhabited and 'B', building! It is possible to count 'households' from a landmark - pub, vicarage, etc. In column '5', the form should also show the number of rooms that are occupied (of less than five!).

4 - Name

The first, middle and surname of the person - different spellings are possible even within the same family. An enumerator would write the details in, so the handwriting should be consistent throughout the page (if somewhat illegible), and they would interpret names as they felt it should be spelled if the person didn't know.

5 - Relationship to the head of the family

This column lists whether the person listed is a son, daughter, wife, etc. It also lists servants and borders, etc.

6 - Condition

The condition as to marriage (marital status)! It is often abbreviated - 'U' (it often looks like an 'M'), or 'Un' means unmarried.

7 - Age at last birthday

Self-explanatory, and split between male and female, which does help if names are unclear. The records become more accurate from 1851, but it does rely on people knowing their age (or being honest about it!).

8 - Profession or Occupation

It was normally only male entries and single women (often just servants) who had occupations listed.

9 - Employment

Columns 12, 13 and 14 ask whether the person is an employer (and often gives a number of people employed by the person), employed or unemployed (shown as - Neither Employer nor Employed)!

10 - Where Born

Self-explanatory, but it relied on the enumerator making correct notes, and knowing how to spell place names away from the locality. You may also find the enumerator lists a nearby town rather than the village given!

11 - Aliments

The politically incorrect column showing 'deformities' and disabilities.

12 - Source citation

This is the record number, comprising of the following:

  • Class which is RG12 for 1891.
  • Piece - At some point in the enumeration process, the returns were organised into distinct County groups. And a number of Enumeration Books were gathered into "Pieces". Unused leaves of the books were discarded.
  • Book - This is the enumerator's book.
  • Enumeration District - Self-explanatory.
  • Folio - A folio is either a leaf of the enumerator's book, or it is the two pages that can be viewed side by side in the open enumerator's book.
  • Page - Self-explanatory.
  • GSU roll - Copyright reference for the film of the page.

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