Hide Advanced Show Advanced

Search

Name

Use default settings
Use default settings

Birth

Use default settings

Lived In

Use default settings

Any Event

Use default settings

More

e.g. teacher or "Tower of London"

Get Better Matches

You can search for:

  • Ecclesiastical parish
  • ED, institution, or vessel
  • Piece
  • Folio
  • Page Number
  • Relation
  • Registration district
  • Sub-registration district
  • Household schedule number

Source Information

Ancestry.com. 1851 England Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.
Original data: Census Returns of England and Wales, 1851. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1851. Data imaged from the National Archives, London, England. The National Archives gives no warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or fitness for the purpose of the information provided. Images may be used only for purposes of research, private study or education. Applications for any other use should be made to the National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU.

About 1851 England Census

The 1851 Census for England was taken on the night of 30 March 1851. The following information was requested:

  • Name of street, place, road, etc.
  • House number or name
  • Name of each person that had spent the night in that household
  • Relationship of person enumerated to the head of the family
  • Person's marital status
  • Age at last birthday (sex is indicated by which column the age is recorded in)
  • Person's rank, profession, or occupation
  • Person's place of birth (if outside of England or Wales, only the country may be given)
  • Whether blind, deaf, or idiot

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 we can view images of today. The original householders schedules from 1841 to 1901 were destroyed.

The clerks who compiled and reviewed the census data made a variety of marks on the returns. Unfortunately, many of these tally marks were written over personal information and some fields, such as ages, can be difficult to read as a result. More useful marks include a single slash between households within a building and a double slash separating households in separate buildings.

How the census forms are organized:

Census returns were collected according to registration district. These returns were divided into sub-districts and assigned consecutive piece numbers for reference purposes. The piece numbers begin in London with number one and work roughly south to north, followed by the Welsh districts and then the Isle of Man and Channel Islands. You will find the piece number on a paper strip at the bottom of every image, following the PRO class number. There may be hundreds of pieces within a county.

In addition to the piece number, each page of the returns includes a folio number and/or a page number. The folio number was stamped onto every other page before microfilming and is located in the upper right hand corner of the image. Folio numbering usually starts over at the beginning of each piece. The page number is part of the printed form and is found on every page in the upper right hand corner. The page numbers start over at the beginning of every enumeration district. A full reference number for a record in the 1851 census includes the PRO class number (HO 107), the piece number, the folio number, and the page number. Keep in mind that you may have to look at several enumeration districts to find the page you want within a given folio since the page numbers start over with every ED.

Known problems with the 1851 Census:

  • The following parishes and hamlets are missing from these piece numbers. Some of these parishes and hamlets represent the entirety of the piece, while others are just portions of a piece.

    PieceCountyParishes and Hamlets
    1762Cambridgeshire and Suffolk
    Ashley-cum-Silverley
    Burwell
    Exning
    Landwade
    Newmarket
    Reach
    Snailwell
    St Mary
    Swaffham Prior
    1763Cambridgeshire and Suffolk
    Dalham
    Dunstall-Green
    Gazeley
    Higham Green
    Kennett
    Lidgate
    Moulton
    Ousden
    Southwell Park
    1785Essex
    Aythorp-Roothing
    Bardfield-Saling
    Barnston
    Broxted
    Chickney
    Easton Lodge
    Felstead
    Great Bardfield
    Great Canfield
    Great Dunmow
    Great Easton
    Hatfield-Broad-Oak or Hatfield Regis
    High Easter
    High Roothing
    Leaden-Roothing
    Lindsell
    Little Bardfield
    Little Canfield
    Little Easton
    Little Dunmow
    Margaret Roothing
    Morrell-Roothing
    Stebbing
    Takeley
    Thaxted
    Tilty
    White Roothing
    1852Dorset
    Bagbere
    Bellchalwell
    Child Okeford
    Fifehead-Neville
    Hammoon
    Haselbury-Bryan
    Hinton St Mary
    Ibberton
    Manston
    Newton
    Okeford-Fitzpaine
    Shillingstone or Shilling-Okeford
    Stoke-Wake
    Sturminster-Newton-Castle
    Woolland

  • In addition, the census returns of the following localities have been damaged by water during storage. Most of the damaged pieces are in the area of Manchester. However, through the use of new technology they have now been indexed. The Manchester and Lancashire Family History Society recovered tens of thousands of names working on a small scale to prove the technology. Ancestry.com used forensic and photographic techniques on a large scale to take names from records, which are unreadable by the naked eye because of mold and water damage. The process yielded abt 165,000 names that weren’t previously available.

    PieceCountyParishes and Hamlets
    2332Yorkshire
    Broadroyd Head
    Carlton
    Carr Green
    Cudworth with High & Low Cudworth
    Darton
    Darton Lane Head
    Darton with Blacker
    Mapplewell
    Notton
    Roystone
    Staincross & Swallow Hill
    Woolley
    2219Lancashire
    Manchester
    Ardwick
    Birth in Rusholme
    Burnage
    Chorlton-dum-Hardy
    Didsbury
    Gorton
    Levenshulme
    Openshaw
    Rusholme
    Withington
    2220LancashireManchester
    Ardwick
    Chorlton-upon-Medlock
    2221LancashireManchester
    Moss-side
    Hulme
    2222/1LancashireEccles
    Pendleton
    2222/2LancashireEccles
    Pendlebury
    2222/3LancashireManchester
    Broughton-with Kersall
    2223LancashireManchester
    Salford
    2224LancashireManchester
    Salfrod
    2225LancashireManchester
    2226LancashireManchester
    2227LancashireManchester
    2228LancashireManchester
    2229LancashireManchester
    2230LancashireManchester
    2231LancashireManchester
    Bradford
    Beswick
    Newton with Culcheth & Kirkmanshulme
    2232Lancashire
    Manchester
    Alt
    Alt-Edge
    Alt-Hill
    Ashton-under-Lyne
    Blackley
    Cheetham
    Crumpsall
    Failsworth
    Great Heaton
    Harpurhey
    Knott Lanes with Lees
    Knott Lanes & Wood Park
    Little Heaton
    Moston
    Prestwich
    Taunton
    2233LancashireAshton-under-Lyne
    Ashton Town
    2240LancashirePrestwich
    Oldham (St Mary's, St Peter's, Wernet, and Westwood Wards)

Connecting piece numbers and localities:

To identify which parishes or townships are included in a piece, please use The National Archives online catalogue. Search the catalogue by entering the series code and the piece number, e.g. HO 107/217, in the box in the upper left that says "Type reference here."

Alternatively, you can search the catalogue vice-versa (identify which piece number a particular parish or township is part of) by putting a place name in the "Word or phrase" field and "HO 107" in the "Department or Series code" field.

Some of the above information was 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).

© 2002-2014 Ancestry.comPrivacyCookiesNew Terms and ConditionsOperated by Ancestry.com Europe S.à r.l.