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English Census Links

Census are really Essential for research in 19th century and early 20th

Adding 2012 perhaps this site with census  Hearth Tax Online - Householders in late 17th century England

Major Update Jan 2007 and news on 1911 Dec 2008 - census data on the web keeps improving - previously I listed sites with census by decade but now many fee sites have all or most census so I am listing by site 

Census Dates and Other Information
Excellent help files CENSUS Resources and UK Census - various sites with useful information
Abbreviations Used On Census Returns England & Wales 1841-1891 Enumerator Instructions

Basically the available Census fall into blocks 
1831 and before 
1841 to 1901 most of page is about there decades 
1911 see bottom of page

National Archives: Historical Streets Project - new from TNA in 2009 - may help you find streets and especially a census reference
Jan 2012 TNA says Your archives will disappear soon - when it does try Discover our collections | The National Archives

1831 and Before 
1821 and 1831 census for some places such as Marylebone are around on fiche etc - basically a list of household - try a web search - 

Westminster City Archives information sheet on Pre-1841 Censuses and Lists of Inhabitants relating to Westminster.

Free census availability
1881 Census LDS  - very useful - so quick to use - when I find possible married couples I check 1881 census for them as in LDS you can put wife in main box and head of household in special box - otherwise Ancestry 1881 is probably easier to search as you can use wildcard and town of birth. 

( there is a CD version which also covers Scotland and allows for address search here is a suggestion for Address Search on On Line 1881 census at LDS which I did before Ancestry made address search available - it sometimes works for other census.

Ancestry also has 1881
census with images (payment) the  Index search and household details are free

Ancestry search allows wildcard and also place born more easily than LDS - so I find in Ancestry and then switch to LDS for the transcription
FreeCEN UK Census - a volunteer effort to transcribe for surname lookup and it is free - (more volunteers welcome) I don't know if you will find yours have been transcribed but worth a check - very good for Cornwall where 1891 is being transcribed by street in London -  well worth a check - the transcribed names do not come up in google I tried.  - 
Various local FHS and Parishes may have data available - try a web search say in - especially some villages - try that first before paying other sites. for example Oxford FHS will conduct a search for across all census and parish registers on their own transcription
If you have an interest outside London do web searches (google) and look at Genuki - I found census coverage for a Devon village


try a search such as

nameofplace 1851 genuki

Commercial sites 1841-1911 are on sites which are subscription or pay to view

The main ones with an almost total coverage of England and usually Wales 


Sometimes Libraries and Societies have access to these sites

The census for some areas are lost - see suggestion on PRO National Archive etc for how to find out which are missing

Census data has been around for some time on fiche and then CD - but you needed to know address or you spent ages browsing. Around 2004 following success of LDS 1881 and  TNA 1901 other decades started to appear on line 1841 does not have as much personal information as later decades - age is rounded and birth place is Yes/No in county see Other Information
Surname Variations - an excellent web site also shows if variation is on 1881 The sites below are in essence different to the CDs because people have transcribed the names so we can search by name - do you know how many spelling variations of my name there are. The transcribers do a great job but the handwriting can be very hard. 


1901 Census the original Government site

The second census to appear in full on the web. 

It was a thrill to find my father at age 1.  

This 1901 can be difficult to search - it has restrictions - it is not as easy as Ancestry's search and Ancestry of course have a different index.  But it can be low cost to see a few images. And it allows occupation and address search

To overcome some problems with this 1901 search the 1901 Census Decoder - was written this program helps identify households on the TNA/ PRO 1901 census - this may help show you have the correct family etc before you pay for the image 


1841 to 1901


I have a subscription and find it very good 

You can usually search index for free - just looking at detail or image is a charge - 

they include LDS 1881 for free search and details and have Image for a charge and this is the only they have with address search 

Other census can be browsed by district - with enumerator control sheet with list of streets to be walked. The start of browse section also lists areas which may have been lost to us. 

Ancestry uncludes Wales and Channel Islands in census and some census of Scotland

Their technical help is good - click Help in top corner to send email

Discussion board can be found at


1841 to 1901
I have not used this site - and have not had much feedback either - their subscription plans are confusing - you have to subscribe to search but they say they have all census and other records as well. 

Re confusion from their census coverage page Jan 2007
We have census transcripts for 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871 and 1891 with 1901 coming soon as part of our All-Inclusive subscription. These cover all counties of England and Wales.
Additionally a complete transcript for 1901 for England & Wales is now available on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Now does that mean you have to pay as you go for 1901 or is it included in  a subscription. I suggest read about the subscription and ask them if you have any doubts yourself. I like the sound of some of their other data and may look at one day.

1841 to 1911 or 

Their Help people get back to you quickly but they may not correct "errors" 

Ifranviewer .- very good for their Djvu files 

1841  and 1861 and 1871
This is an interesting site - check the subscription offers - they are low cost short term ones. They have databases not available elsewhere Boyd's Marriage index and Licence lists and Apprentices - check them out a search re total numbers of a name is free
Mainly CD but Some census on line for different places
I have not used - good feedback on their CDs 
British Census Indexes, Transcripts, and Images Available Online or on CD   a comprehensive list
Archive CD Books also sell CDs of census Some CDs available for small areas of London 
1911 1911 is different as it is actual household returns rather than the enumerator report which itself is a transcription

Findmypast have a special 1911 site and for coverage etc blog


A census transcriptions supplied by a friend 1851 Census Regents Park Adult Orphan Institution from Sally Taylor


19th century Britain goes online Histpop - The Online Historical Population Reports Website does have samples census forms and you can see originals in colour whereas the versions we see are B&W which may make some data like ages hard to read.