How to use the 1911 Census records

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01 November 2016
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See your ancestor's handwriting and more in the 1911 Census returns

You may remember filling out your census forms in 2011, and roughly a century before that our ancestors all over England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland filled out their census forms too. These records have survived for more than a hundred years, and you can search them to find your family in the past.

The census returns give a wonderful time-capsule of details about our ancestors, with the names, ages, relationship to the head of household, address, marital status, occupation, and birth place for each one. The 1911 Census also gives the number of children born to that marriage and the number of years of the marriage.

In addition, the scanned images of the census pages that you can view online show the actual pages as filled in by your ancestors in England, Wales and Ireland. For Scotland you view the enumerators’ schedules, which are the forms used by the census enumerators to collate information that they collected.

Where to find the 1911 Census

Search census records for free online

It is worth starting your census search for free at www.freecen.org and familysearch.org.

Why isn’t my ancestor listed on the census?

  • Their name could have been misspelled. Try a wildcard search when using indexes online
  • They could be serving in the Army or have emigrated
  • The person may have been absent from their home address on census night
  • The household could have moved from the area you are searching.

Brush up on your census research skills with the November issue of Family Tree!

Family history for beginners