The 1841 UK Census

The 1841 UK census was the first of the census records which identified all individuals in a household.

It occurred as of the night of June 6, 1841. All persons were to be recorded in the actual place where they spent the night, regardless of where they actually lived.

UK Flag and Outline Map

The 1841 census covered England, Wales, Scotland, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands.

It was somewhat rudimentary, by today's standards. While it listed every person who spent the night at a particular household, it did not show relationships between those individuals and the head of the household.

In most cases, however, since households were shown together, it likely is safe to assume that at least those bearing the same surname in a household were related.





The questions asked on this census were as follows:

  • Place
  • Houses
    • Uninhabited or building
    • Inhabited
  • Names of each person who abode therein the preceding night
  • Age and sex
    • Males
    • Females
  • Profession, trade, employment, or of independent means
  • Where born
    • Whether born in same county
    • Whether born in Scotland, Ireland, or foreign parts



Note that there is no indication of where in a particular county the individual was born. If this were the only census record available for use, then, and there were 5 John Isbels all in the same area, it would be almost impossible to sort out which one was the one you were looking for, as the information does not provide sufficient detail.

It also would be difficult to trace a family's movements within the county, or around the country, if the census records from subsequent years had continued with this "bare minimum" level of information!

It also is common knowledge that, in the 1841 UK census, many of the enumerators rounded a person's age up or down to the nearest 5 years. That makes it even more difficult to find the person you are searching for, as many of the ages have been altered.

Nevertheless, it does provide a wealth of information which was not previously available.






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