Search billions of records on

Cornwall Online Census Project

“Bringing YOUR ancestors to YOU, free of charge!”

Sepia photograph
The Jolly family from Ladock

1891 Enumerators' Instructions

These are the instructions to enumerators contained at the start of every booklet. They are presented here to illustrate what the census should contain, which may help you interpret what you see. It is true that by no means all enumerators followed these instructions!

General Instructions to the Enumerator

Immediately after the completion of the Enumeration:—

(1). Arrange and number the Householders’ Schedules and other Schedules in such order that all those relating to one Civil Parish, one Sanitary District, one Ecclesiastical Parish, or other local sub-division, follow each other.

(2). Copy the Schedules very Legibly in Ink into this Enumeration Book, in accordance with the following directions:—

  1. Insert first, in the spaces at the top of the page, the name of the Civil Parish, Municipal Borough, Ward of Municipal Borough, Urban Sanitary District, Town or Village, or Hamlet, Rural Sanitary District, Parliamentary Borough or Division, and Ecclesiastical Parish or District in which the houses referred to on that page are situated. No Schedule is to be entered on a page unless if belongs to each of the local sub divisions named in the Heading. See also Instruction No. 10.

  2. In the first column, write the No of the Schedule you are about to copy, commencing with No 1, in the second column the name of the Road, Street, Square, &c, in which the house is situated, and the No. of the house, or any distinctive name by which it is known; then insert in the third column the figure 1 for an Inhabited House, and copy from the Schedule into the other columns all the particulars concerning the persons returned therein, without any omission, or any abbreviation except those authorised in the Instruction at the foot of this page, taking especial care to enter the ages of males and females in their proper columns.

    Enter in the same manner the contents of all the other Schedules, in strict numerical order.

  3. Under the name of the last entered person in each house draw a strong double line, as in the example on the opposite page, to separate the inmates from those of the house next following; and where there is more than one occupier in the same house, draw a single line to distinguish the separate families, as in the example. [Note:— The occupier of a separate tenement, although living alone without wife or family, must be treated as a separate family.]

  4. If you have enumerated any persons in Canal Boats or Barges, enter the Schedules for Vessels in the same manner as the Householders’ Schedules, stating in col. 3 the locality in which the boats, &c, were enumerated.

  5. If you have obtained information and noted it in your Memorandum Book, respecting persons not dwelling in houses but in Barns, Sheds, Caravans, &c., the particulars should be entered under the proper Road, Lane, or other locality, in making up the totals at the foot of that page, however, the Barns, Sheds, &c., must not be counted as Houses.

  6. Where you have to insert an uninhabited house, or a house building, do this by writing in the fourth column “1 U,” or “1 B,” on a distinct line, taking care to omit none which are noted in your Memorandum Book. When two or more houses, uninhabited or building, occur together, insert the total number, thus:— “3 U,” “2 B,” as the case may be.

  7. Insert in col. 5 against the name of each occupier the number of rooms occupied if less than five.

  8. The contents of columns 11 to 14 should be accurately copied from columns 6 to 9 of the Schedules without any omission, alteration or abbreviation.

  9. At the bottom of each page, on the line for that purpose, enter the total number of houses in that page, as in the example. If the statement respecting any inhabited house is continued from one page to another, that house will be reckoned in the total of the houses in the page on which the first name is entered but not again in the following page. Enter also on the line at the foot of the page the number of tenements with less than 5 rooms, and the total number of males and of females on the page.

  10. When all the Schedules belonging to the Civil Parish, Municipal Borough, Ward of Municipal Borough, Urban Sanitary District, Town or Village, or Hamlet, Rural Sanitary District, Parliamentary Borough or Division, Ecclesiastical Parish or District, named in the heading have been entered, write across the page. “End of the Civil Parish of ———,” “End of the Municipal Borough, Ward of Municipal Borough, Urban Sanitary District, Town or Village, or Hamlet, Rural Sanitary District, Parliamentary Borough or Division, Ecclesiastical Parish or District of ———.” The rest of the page must then be left blank, and the following Schedule must be entered on the first line of the next page. On the printed Example on page iii.

Having satisfied yourself that all your Schedules have been correctly copied into your Book, fill up the Summary Tables on pages iv. And v., and sign the Declaration on page vi.

Abbreviations to be used by the Enumerator

Road, Street, &c—Write “Rd.” for Road; “St.” for Street; “Pl.” for Place; “Sq.” for Square; “Ter.” for Terrace.

Names—Write the First Christian Name in full; initials, or the first letters of the other Christian Names of a person who has more than one must be inserted.

When the same surname occurs several times in succession, write “Do” for all such surnames except the first, which must be written in full.

Where the name or any other particular is not known and cannot be ascertained, “n.k.” should be entered in its place.

In the column “Relation to Head of Family" write “Head” for head of family; “Daur.” for daughter; “Serv.” for servant.

In the column “Condition as to Marriage” write—“M” for married; “S” for unmarried; “Wid.” for widow; or “Widr.” for widower.

In the columns for “age” write the number of years in figures very distinctly in the proper column for “Males” or “Females” as the case may be, in the case of children under One Year of age, as the age must be expressed in months, write “Mo,” distinctly after the figures.