The British Census a beginner’s guide 1851

1851 Census

Following the first census that is of use to us as family history researchers came the second census of 1851, taken on the night of 30 March.   This was to set the pattern for a census to be held every 10 years, which still happens to the present day.

The census of 1851 was taken in slightly more detail than the 1841 census.  It shows us a persons true age (or what they thought was their correct age!), as well as the relationships between the people living in any one household, institution or vessel.  Disabilities were also recorded, which were listed as either blind, deaf, or imbecile.  Also, the documents reveal to us where a person was born.  This is an incredibly important piece of information for the researcher because it aids us to find baptism, marriage and perhaps other records such as property records that exist before 1851.  Therefore, helping us to trace a family line further into the past.

So, in brief the 1851 census will tell us:

  • Place of birth
  • Martial status
  • Relationship to the head of the household
  • Disability
  • Exact age to the nearest year
  • Occupation  (the number of people employed)

Reaction to the 1851 census. Punch, April, 1851 p.152

 

 

 

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