Genealogy Help

Census Returns

The 1911 Census

1911 England Census for Winston Churchill

This census was a huge difference to earlier ones and has excited family historians. It was completed by the householder and asks some insightful (for genealogy) questions. It was, however, at the height of the Suffragette period, so many women refused to answer the questions and often spoiled the return. The 1911 census was taken on 2 April 1911 and gave the population of England & Wales as 36,003,276. The example shown is for Winston Churchill and his family.

The elements are:

1 - Schedule Number

Unlike previous censes, this one was completed by the householder, so the schedule was entered to aid the reconciliation of returns.

2 - Name

Assuming that the householder was illiterate, we finally have the 'family' spelling of the name and all the first names. It is not uncommon for nicknames to appear on this census.

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3 - Relationship to Head of Family

Self-explanatory. There is even guidance as to the entries.

4 - Age at last birthday

As before, this was split into male and female lists, though many heads of household didn't read this and errors and crossed out entries do exist.

5 - Marital Status

Again, the census explains what to place in this column. It is part of a wider 'Particulars of Marriage' section.

6 - Married Women section

A new section that asks the number of completed years of marriage, number of children - born alive, living and died!

7 - Personal Occupation

This asks for quite detailed descriptions, in a small area. In the example above, 'Prime Minister' fits quite well!

8 - Details of Occupation

The Industry or Service, and employment status (employer, employee, etc.), and if working from home were required in these three columns.

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9 - Birthplace

Detailed instructions demonstrate what is required in this section, and most people seem to have completed it correctly.

10 - Nationality/Languages spoken

This was more of a nationalistic question, inquiring about Irish, Welsh and Scottish nationalism, but does, of course, collect other information.

11 - Infirmity

The politically incorrect column showing 'deformities' and disabilities. This must have been difficult for the family to 'report on', else they could also have filled something vindictively or jokingly! This was covered when the census was first released.

Not Shown - Address & Signature

In most cases, this form also shows the Postal Address of the family and the signature of the head of the family. There is also a tally for the number of males, females and people in the house.

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