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Anguline Research Archives.
An organisation dedicated to bring rare books on CD at an affordable price, to the local history researcher and to the family history researcher.

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Census Research Tips


1 : Remember the census enumerator's books are transcripts of the returned schedules and are open to the same errors as any other transcript.

2 : The 1911 census is the only available census that does not use enumerator's transcripts of the schedules.

3 : Ages, all census are supposed to show the actual age except for the 1841 where for persons over 15 years of age the age was rounded down to the nearest multiple of five. However people did not worry so much about age in the past as we do now and so the age may simply be a guess.

4 : The 1841 census does not show relationships, later census do and they also contain more information as the decades pass. If you find a family in an early census, check a later one to see if more details are added.

5 : Be aware that spelling mistakes may have been made, this is especially important if the first letter of a surname has been been misread.

6 : All census with the exception of the 1911 census are available to purchase from the Public Record Office on either microfilm or microfiche, consider whether it would be more convienient to own your own copy for the enumeration district your ancestors lived in. It will give you an insight to the people they would meet daily.

7 : Be aware of the date the census was taken if your ancestor died shortly before the census date he/she will not show up on the returns though their next of kin may. This is even more relevant for someone dying shortly before the 1851 census as it would have shown age, place of birth and relationships.

8 : Never assume that everyone in a household is related, they may not be.

9 : Relationships given are to the head of the household, never assume that the same relationship applies to the wife as to the head, he or she may have been married previously.

10 : Later census may give clues to a wife's maiden name, she may have her sister or parent living with her.