The 1841 census is the first modern UK census to record the details of every person and household in Britain, and the earliest census that has survived in its entirety. Search for your ancestors and discover a detailed snapshot of their life at the time - their age, occupation, where they lived, who they lived with, their marital status and much more besides.
Census returns can not only help us determine who our ancestors were, but they can also tell us
Where your ancestors were living
Who they were living with
What their occupations were
If they had any servants
Who their neighbours were
If they had any brothers and sisters
What their ages were at the time of the census
As well as giving us the above information, the fact that census returns are taken every ten years also allows us to track the movements of our ancestors through time as they perhaps move house, get married, have children or even change occupations.
The fields which have been transcribed for the 1841 census on findmypast are:
Place of residence
As well as searching for a person, you can also search the 1841 census by address - ideal for tracing your house history or exploring the local history of an area.
By noting how many households there were in a building and whether the household included servants or boarders or visitors, you can gain insight into the social circumstances of the family.
The 1841 census was the first modern census, when the first Registrar General of England and Wales was made responsible for organising the count.
The 1841 census was taken on the night of 6 June 1841 and gave the total population as 18,553,124.
The task of counting was passed to local officers of the newly created registration service. This is the earliest census that has survived in its entirety: few of the 1801, 1811, 1821 and 1831 censuses have survived the ravages of time.
1841 was the first time that the head of each household was given a form to fill in on behalf of everyone in the dwelling on a set day. This system still forms the basis of the method used today.
Note: In the 1841 Census a policy of rounding down ages was in place. As such, people aged:
15-19 were recorded as 15
20-24 were recorded as 20
25-29 were recorded as 25
30-34 were recorded as 30
35-39 were recorded as 35...and so on
The golden rule of family history is to check the original historical record, or 'primary source', wherever possible. We have provided clear images of the original census enumeration books for you to view once you've found the right family in the indexes.
When using census returns you should first search the transcriptions to help locate your ancestor in the census, and then view the original images to validate your findings. It will also help you see the household in the context of surrounding households.
This is particularly important as transcribing an entire census is a huge and difficult task, and whilst we have used the expertise of our transcribers and the experience of key representatives from the genealogy community to help us translate the records, it is inevitable that there will be some errors.
Note: the census includes details of people resident in docked vessels and institutions such as prisons, workhouses, hospitals, and barracks, as well as individual households.
The 1841 England, Wales & Scotland Census is the first modern UK census and the earliest census that has survived in its entirety. A small number of permanent gaps exist in the 1841 census. In the enumeration books some parishes and hamlets are permanently 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.
For the full list of missing parishes and hamlets view our 'Census for England, Wales and Scotland: missing pieces' article, available in Useful links and resources.