|Family History and Genealogy Information|
The first census in England and Wales was done in 1800. They have been done every ten years since then. Up to 1841, they are not very useful to the researcher because it was just a collection of numbers of people with no names, ages, addresses etc. that could identify an individual. The 1841 census was the first to identify individuals and their addresses and age. Their age however was recorded to the nearest five years rounded down, so that an individual actual age 23 would be recorded as 20 and someone 28 would be down as 25. From 1851 the ages were recorded accurately (as accurately as the individual knew!). Occupations of individuals were also noted, as were their relationship to the head of the family. On studying a census return, the husband in a family is called HEAD, with WIFE, SON, DAUGHTER, SISTER, BROTHER etc. all being "relationship to HEAD". Of course with just a surviving wife, she would be classed as HEAD, and the relationship to her would then follow.
Census data provides a snapshot at a period of ten years, and it is surprising what can be found from these records. People disappear from an address only to pop up at another address as, for example, a live-in servant, or gardener, recorded as their relationship to the head of that household. Remember that on census day the person records where they were staying on that night, be they on holiday, in hospital, prison, etc.
The Public Records Office in London now has the 1901 Census live for search on the internet. To access the P.R.O. website click the link button below.