Genealogy Help

Census Returns

The 1901 Census

1901 England Census for Ernest Shackleton

The only difference in this census is the detail of same data collected. The 1901 census was taken on 31 March 1901 and gave the population of Great Britain as 36,999,946. The example return shows the explorer Ernest Shackleton.

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? More detail in this section, with 4 columns - Column 3 was for 'inhabited' properties. Column 4, for uninhabited business properties. Column 5, for no occupation - uninhabited. And Column 6 for houses under construction (building). The enumerator only had to tick a box.

Column 7 also records the number of people in the dwelling, though this is often ignored.

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.

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!). I have not numbered this time, but it takes the same form as in other censes.

7 - Profession or Occupation

This was more complete, listing all and any occupations. You may find them difficult to read due to annotations and marks in the areas (see example).

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8 - Employment

The multiple columns from the 1891 census now combined into a single column for 'Employer', 'Worker' or 'Own Account' (Self-employed). The adjacent column shows whether the person is working from home.

9 - 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!

10 - Aliments

The politically incorrect column showing 'deformities' and disabilities.

11 - Source citation

This is the record number, comprising of the following:

  • Class which is RG13 for 1901.
  • 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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