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Source Information

Taylor, Ron, comp.. 1851 United Kingdom Census Sample [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.
Original data: 1841 Census Returns. London, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO). HO 107 Census Returns.

About 1851 United Kingdom Census Sample

This database is an index to approximately 10% of the individuals enumerated in the 1851 census of the United Kingdom. A list of the counties that are included in this index and the approximate number of individuals in each county referenced in this index is provided below. Information provided in this database includes: name; place of birth; gender; age; relationship to head of household; marital status; occupation; enumeration district; address at time of census; household number (assigned by the enumerator); enumeration county.

Census records are valuable sources for genealogists because they help us locate people in a specific time and place. The census records indexed here are available on microfilm at many libraries, archives, and historical or genealogical societies, including the Family History Library (FHL) and the National Archives of the UK, formerly the Public Record Office (PRO) and Historic Manuscripts Commission (HMC).

The British government took its first national census in 1801. A census has been taken every ten years since that date, except in 1941. The first genealogically useful census was not taken until 1841, when names were recorded.

The 1851 Census was taken on the night of 30 March 1851. The following information was requested: Name of street, avenue road, etc.; house number or name; whether or not the house was inhabited; name of each person that had spent the night in that household; relationship of person enumerated to the head of the family; each person's marital status; age at last birthday (sex is indicated by which column the age is recorded in); each person's occupation; person's place of birth; whether deaf, dumb, blind, or lunatic.

Enumeration forms were distributed to all households a couple of days before census night and the complete forms were collected the next day. All responses were to reflect the individual's status as of 30 March 1851 for all individuals who had spent the night in the house. People who were traveling or living abroad were enumerated at the location where they spent the night on census night. All of the details from the individual forms were later sorted and copied into enumerators' books, which are the records available to the public today. The original householders schedules from 1841 to 1901 were destroyed.

Taken from "Chapter 6: Census Returns," Ancestral Trails: The Complete Guide to British Genealogy and Family History by Mark D. Herber (Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1998) and Using Census Returns, Pocket Guides to Family History by David Annal (Richmond, Surrey: Public Record Office, 2002).

This is a list of the counties included in this index. The number in parentheses is the approximate number of individuals that are indexed from that county.

  • Aberdeen (4,000)
  • Anglesey (1,900)
  • Angus (5,700)
  • Antrim (33,000)
  • Argyll (2,500)
  • Ayrshire (5,300)
  • Banff (2,300)
  • Bedford (3,900)
  • Berkshire (6,500)
  • Berwick (1,000)
  • Brecknock (2,500)
  • Buckingham (4,300)
  • Caernavon (2,500)
  • Caithness (780)
  • Cambridge (7,000)
  • Cardigan (4,500)
  • Carmathen (1,700)
  • Cheshire (13,800)
  • Clackmannan (1,200)
  • Cornwall (10,300)
  • Cumberland (7,000)
  • Denbigh (4,500)
  • Derby (19,600)
  • Dorset E (4,500)
  • Dumfries (3,600)
  • Dunbarton (2,400)
  • Durham (12,100)
  • Edinburgh (7,500)
  • Elgin (600)
  • Essex (14,200)
  • Fife (4,900)
  • Flint (1,200)
  • Glamorgan (8,100)
  • Gloucester (15,500)
  • Haddington (1,100)
  • Hampshire (12,000)
  • Hereford (2,500)
  • Hertford (3,000)
  • Huntingdon (1,500)
  • Inverness (2,000)
  • Kent (13,100)
  • Kincardine (600)
  • Kirkcudbright (760)
  • Lanark (15,100)
  • Lancashire (56,000)
  • Leicester (6,500)
  • Linlithgow (1,800)
  • Merioneth (1,454)
  • Middlesex (36,000)
  • Monmouth (6,100)
  • Montgomery (1,030)
  • Nairn (550)
  • Norfolk (453,000)
  • Northampton (9,200)
  • Northumberland (8,900)
  • Nottingham (10,200)
  • Orkney (1,720)
  • Oxford (5,600)
  • Peebles (150)
  • Pembroke (2,000)
  • Perthshire (4,200)
  • Renfrew (6,400)
  • Ross & Crom (2,900)
  • Roxburgh (2,200)
  • Rutland (1,560)
  • Shetland (780)
  • Shropshire (25,400)
  • Somerset (16,200)
  • Stafford (19,400)
  • Stirling (4,000)
  • Suffolk (11,600)
  • Surrey (23,400)
  • Sussex (9,900)
  • Sutherland (400)
  • Westmoreland (1,500)
  • Wigtown (2,550)
  • Wiltshire (4,800)
  • Worcester (9,800)
  • Yorkshire (64,000)
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