For a few days over the Christmas period, FindMyPast.com in association with The National Archives made parts of the UK 1911 census available to its customers on its website www.1911census.co.uk. This was a teasing introduction to the official launch on 13th January 2009.
It is exciting for genealogists that this census has been made available earlier than usual but not all of the scanning of the census returns has been completed yet. They hope it will be by the summer.
It is expected that the website will be very busy at first, and FindMyPast have taken a number of measures to make sure that as many people as possible can get their searches completed successfully including restricting some search functions and only allowing census pages to be downloaded rather than viewed directly on the site. You will need to purchase credits to view the results of your census searches.
Counties available at launch:
Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Cornwall, Derbyshire, Devon, Dorset, Essex, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, London, Middlesex, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Rutlandshire, Shropshire, Somersetshire, Staffordshire, Suffolk, Surrey, Sussex, Warwickshire, Wiltshire, Worcestershire, Yorkshire West Riding
Counties not available for launch but coming soon:
Yorkshire – East Riding and North Riding
Isle of Man
Overseas Military Establishments
About the 1911 census
The 1911 census for England and Wales was taken on the night of Sunday 2 April, 1911. The count included all individual households, plus institutions such as prisons, workhouses, naval vessels and merchant vessels, and it also attempted to make an approximate count of the homeless.
What is in the 1911 census?
In common with the censuses that preceded it, it recorded the following information:
- Where an individual lived
- Their age at the time of the census
- Who (what relatives) they were living with
- Their place of birth
Also, depending on an individual’s circumstances, additional information could include:
- Who their guests were on the night of the census
- The number of servants they had (if any)
- Whether they were an employee or employer
- Details of nationality
- Duration of current marriage
In response to government concerns the 1911 census also asked additional, more specific questions to each household, about fertility in marriage and occupational data.
Prior to 1911, the household schedules were destroyed once the details had been transferred into the enumerators’ summary books. But for the 1911 census both sets of records have been preserved, which means you can see the census documents filled out in your ancestor’s own hand (complete with mistakes and additional comments), in addition to the edited version in the enumerators’ summary.
At launch the household schedules (original household pages), plus their transcriptions are available. The enumerators’ summary books will go online six to eight weeks after launch.
The 1911 census and the suffragettes
Frustrated with the government’s refusal to grant women the vote, a large number of women boycotted the 1911 census by refusing to be counted.
There were two forms of protest. In the first, the women (or their husband) refused to fill in the form, often recording their protest to the enumerator. In the second, women evaded the census by staying away from their home for the whole night.
In both cases, any details relating to individual women in the households will be missing from the census.
For the family historian the active refusal to fill in the form (accompanied by a protest statement) at least registers the presence of a woman/women in the household, whereas the women who evaded the count are simply untraceable via the census.
The exact number of women who boycotted the census is not known, though some people have estimated that it may be as many as several thousand.