Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Researching English Census Records Online

One of the best sites available for those who are tracing there family tree in England is 1901 Census of England and Wales Online which allows you to view original census images for almost 400 million census records from 1841-1901.

The reason the website deserves such high praise, is that it allows you to search all of the English census returns from 1841 to 1901. To actually see the digital image of the original census document you are interested in will cost you some money, but even if you don't want to spend money, you can still make great use of the information available.

If you do wish to view census images and transcriptions, you will need to purchase credits. You can buy 500 credits for only £5.00 (approximately $8.25US) and you will need to use up your credits as they are valid for 7 days. Searching the index is FREE. If you choose to view transcribed data, that costs 50 credits for an individual and then 50 credits for a list of all other people in that person's household. Viewing a digital image of the actual census page will cost 75 credits.
Users are expected to pay by credit card, but there is the option of using PayPal. If you already have a PayPal account, all you have to do is log in, but if you don't, you will need to set up an account if you want to use PayPal to purchase credits.

The information you should find on the census return should list the following:

The family's address: Road, street, town or village, number or name of house
Whether the house is inhabited or not
Name and surname of each person
Relation to Head of Family
Condition as to marriage
Age last birthday
Profession or occupation
Whether employed or not
Where born (usually listing parish of birth)
Whether deaf and dumb, blind, lunatic, imbecile or feeble-minded

One good aspect is that you can search EACH census either individually or all at once. At the top of the main page, click "Search Census" which allows you to fill in the search terms to narrow down the results, which is important if the name of the person you are looking for is somewhat common. Also, along the right hand side you can choose WHICH Census year you want to search. Personally, I usually allow more than the 10 results per page. You can change the number to up to 300 results per page.

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