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The Census Process

There has been a census every ten years since 1801, excluding 1941. However, only those that date from 1841 are of real value to the family historian. The administration of the early census returns 1801-1831 was the responsibility of the Overseers of the Poor and the clergy.

Most of these early returns were unfortunately destroyed, although in some isolated instances they have been preserved. The census returns for 1841 were the first to be kept and, as far as the general public is concerned, the information is released by the Public Record Office after a hundred years. For example, the public were given access to the 1891 census returns on 1 January 1992.

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 up to the census recorded date 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 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.

The following information is usually requested:

Sheffield Registration Districts (Genuki)
The registration district of Sheffield used to compile the censuses returns for the years 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901.  See also Registration Districts in West Yorkshire (Genuki) Civil registration districts in the West Riding of the county of York (Yorkshire) between 1st July 1837 and 31st March 1974.
 

1841

The 1841 Census was recorded on the 6th and 7th of June 1841.  It has been completely indexed by volunteers for this website (Sheffield Indexers) and is available to search online, Terms and Conditions will apply. 

1851

The 1851 Census was taken on the night of 30 March 1851.  It has been completely indexed by Ancestry.co.uk and is available to search online through their website, Terms and Conditions will apply.  It is also being indexed by the Sheffield and District Family History Society (SDFHS).  See their online searchable database.  It is an ongoing project so check back regulary.  See also Strays Etc.  for more information.

1861

The 1861 Census for England was taken on the night of 7 April 1861. It has been completely indexed by Ancestry.co.uk and is available to search online through their website, Terms and Conditions will apply.  An 1861 Addendum database is available to search online through the Sheffield and District Family History Society (SDFHS) Lookups are also offered by the SDFHS on their message forum.

1871

The 1871 Census for England was taken on the night of 2 April 1871. It has been completely indexed by Ancestry.co.uk and is available to search online through their website, Terms and Conditions will apply.  

1881

The 1881 Census for England was taken on the night of 3 April 1881. It has been completely transcribed by LDS and is available to search online for free through their website at FamilySearch.org, Terms and Conditions will apply. See also Strays Etc.  for more information.

1891

The 1891 Census for England was taken on the night of 5 April 1891. It has been indexed by the Sheffield District Family History Society (SDFHS).  Lookups are offered by the SDFHS on their message forum.

See also a FreeCEN online searchable database for the 1891 West Riding of Yorkshire and much more.

1901

The 1901 Census for England was taken on the night of 31 March 1901. It has been completely transcribed for and on behalf the British Government and is available to search online through the website at 1901censusonline.com, Terms and Conditions will apply. 

1911

The 1911 Census for England was taken on the night of 2 April 1911. The 1911 Census for Sheffield is now online at dundee-a.1911census.co.uk cautionary note to review the Terms and Conditions carefully for credit charges.

The official release date was set for January 2012, however, the Information Commissioner decided that The National Archives should individually evaluate requests for specific information from the 1911 census on a case-by-case basis under the Freedom of Information Act. In response to this, The National Archives will also be fast-tracking the process of digitising the census in order to be able to begin releasing an online version, with key sensitive information removed, from early 2009. Click for More Information.

1921

The 1921 Census for England was taken on the night of 19 June 1921. It has a possible release date of January 2022.  

1931

The 1931 Census for England was taken on the night of 26 April 1931. It is highly possible the records were destroyed during WWII.

1939

The 1939 Census for England was taken on the night of 29 September 1939 during a WWII National Registration

[Sources:  GENUKI England & Wales Census (see below), Sheffield Indexers]

Strays Etc.

England & Wales Census (Genuki)            << NEW
Census returns for England and Wales are subject to a 100-year non-disclosure rule. Copies of census returns are available for public inspection for the years 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901 only. Not all census returns have survived, there are some original census enumerators books missing or damaged beyond repair and have not been microfilmed.

Strays & Miscellaneous Census Records
Strays and Census information from various years and counties, currently including; 1841 Census & 1881 Strays for Staveley & District, Derbyshire and the 1891 Census for Chesterfield & Walton, Derbyshire.

Census Strays - 1851
Sheffield and District Family History Society (SDFHS) Online Searchable Database for 1851 Census Strays.

Yorkshire Strays for 1851 & 1881 Census Records
Strays and Census information for other surrounding counties in the UK (Derbyshire, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Middlesex, Northumberland, Devon, Norfolk,Warrick and more) as well as some Naval strays. See also more Census, Strays, Parish Records and more UK Genealogy Links Including England, Scotland and Ireland!  See also Genuki 1881 Strays in Wales.

Ships in Ports - 1881 Census
The 1881 Census contains details of many ships in UK ports. These records are useful for tracing seamen and passengers coming into or going out of the country. For those who do not have easy access to the 1881 census the following pages give the details of the people concerned. A new section of the site is now in progress. This will cover mariners at various shore establishments eg Royal Navy Barracks, Training Schools & Colleges, Seamen's Homes, Prisons etc.  See also further information at the British Seamen's & Mariners Research Links (Bob Sanders).

Merchant Marines (Genuki)            << NEW
Extensive list of popular historical and genealogical links relating to Merchant Marines for the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Yorkshire Strays in Ireland
Is it possible some of your relatives went to Northern Ireland? This link will give you an alphabetical list of Census strays to view.

British Fairground Ancestors
The British Fairground Ancestors website provides information including census records on Showmen as well as Circus and Fairground Travelers Index.  See also National Fairground Archive
See also "Circus-Folk" Mailing List on Rootsweb.

Jails, Prisoners, Executions
Sheffield Indexers collection of links to historical data including Jails, Prisoners, Convict Ships and more.

Emigration, Immigration, Migration
Sheffield Indexers extensive list of links to websites for family members who may have Emigrated, Immigrated or Migrated. Includes many links to ships passenger lists, war brides, colonialism and more.

Yorkshire & Surrounding Counties
Sheffield Indexers collection of popular Historical and Genealogical links for Yorkshire and the surrounding counties of  Cheshire, Derbyshire, Durham, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Westmorland/Cumbria.

The British Colonies
Sheffield Indexers extensive list of genealogical links pertaining to the British Colonies including; America, Australia, Canada, Caribbean & West Indies, India, New Zealand and South Africa.
 

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