Online Censuses

What is a Census?  A Census is a periodic count of the population.  Although it is conducted to obtain data for government planning purposes, it is also an invaluable source of data for genealogical research.  A census should contain a record of every person and family living in the country at the time concerned.

How is a Census Useful? The actual data available from a census varies from country to country and year to year - more recent censuses tend to record more details. 

Possibly the most useful data from a census, for family tree research purposes, is the information it provides about a family unit.  Typically, you will find a Household with a "head", a spouse and children.  Sometimes you will also find parents and other relatives.  Data from a Census can help you find new relationships to add to your tree (e.g. new generations or siblings), or confirm some of the relationships you already know about or suspect. Census data can also provide some fascinating background information such as occupations and places of birth.

The major advantage to the online publication of census data, is the inclusion of some powerful search facilities.  Because you know your ancestor should be included somewhere, you may be able to track them down using the search facilities - if they've moved to a different part of the country, or sometime even if they've changed the spelling or their name (or perhaps had their name misspelled within the census).

Tracking down a missing relative within a census, and using available clues to confirm relationships, can be extremely rewarding.

UK Censuses for 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901 are available online with comprehensive indexes and search facilities.

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UK Censuses

Census Information

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