1921 Census mini user guide


14 January 2022
The 1921 Census became available to search on 6 January 2022. Read on for tips to help you explore this fascinating historic record and learn more about lives and your ancestors a century ago.

How to do a basic search of the 1921 Census

Note: you do not need a subscription to Findmypast in order to use the 1921 Census and you do not need to take out a 14 day free trial. You do need to register with the website however.

Once you are logged in you will be able to conduct searches at no charge.

Note that when searching you are entering the year of birth, but the ‘Where’ field is not for place of birth. The ‘Where’ field is for you to enter the place in which you expect the person to be in 1921.

The search results give a detailed combination of facts to help you determine whether the entry is correct before you decide to buy a full transcription or the digitised image of the original page. This is an example of the search results above.

The details include: first name(s), last name, birth year, place of birth, and the name of the parish, registration district and county where the person was living in 1921.

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How to do an advanced search of the 1921 Census

If our example above we searched for Robert Henry Adams, and there were 321 results. The advanced search provides numerous fields that you may use to narrow down your search results.

In this instance we have only included an occupation ‘artificial limb’ – and immediately we have cut the list down to just one result. The advanced search provides numerous ways in which you can make your list of search results more precise to your search interest.

To find out more, payment for the transcription or digitised image is required.

What can you see once you’ve paid

The details on the transcription for Robert Henry Adams, ‘artificial limb' maker, tell us that he was in the employment of C. Blatchford. Blatchford Prosthetics (www.blatchford.co.uk) is a Victorian company that is still in business today. In 1921 it is very likely that its clients included injured service personnel.

The prices are £2.50 to purchase the transcription and £3.50 for the digitised image (Pro subscribers to Findmypast have free access to the 1921 Census for England and Wales as part of their subscription (as of 11 October 2022); regular subscribers receive no discount).

It’s not just an image – it’s images

In addition to the household image, the £3.50 fee includes the front of the census form (on which you’ll find the address), the cover of the form (on which you will find the series and piece number), contemporary maps, details and plans of division (which comprise details similar to the enumerator’s description in earlier census returns). To find the image of the front and the image of the cover, whilst looking at the household image page click on ‘Extra (Address)’ – found near the bottom right-hand corner of the window.

Note: The address is found on the image of the front of the form, not on the household image page (which we are used to expect from the 1911 Census of England and Wales for instance).

How to do an address search

From the basic search, select the green tab to search by address.

Enter the street name and location.

From the list of search results, select a street and click through to reveal a list of house names or house numbers. This can be a useful way of determining how many households were living at an address. To find out more, payment for a transcription or image is required.

Note that the addresses you may search for in the 1921 Census of England and Wales include institutions, ships and places in the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

How to find the piece number for a 1921 Census record

The piece numbers can be located in a few ways:

If you have bought a census image, you’ll find the piece numbers on the cover of the form (see above, scrawled in large handwriting RG15/2086) - and the piece number is also included in the file name of the image download.

If you’ve bought a transcription, you’ll find the piece number transcribed there.

How to create a census reference for a 1921 Census record

Use the piece number and add the household schedule number at the end. 

For census images you’ll find the household schedule number [No. of schedule.] in the top right-hand corner of the census household page. In this instance, it's 182.

For census transcriptions you’ll find the piece number and household schedule number included in the transcription.

How to use RD codes to help identify a place

For instance, you can use the Registration District and Sub-District code to work out a county name if this has not been included on your set of household census images.

Find a list of Registration District and Sub-District codes here.