04 March 2021
Find your UK ancestor on the 1861 census with our guide to the dates the census was taken and what information it contains.
The census is an essential building block for your family tree, allowing you to see a snapshot of your ancestor and their family members at ten-yearly intervals.
The census returns of 1841-1911 for England, Wales and Scotland are available online and can give you a unique insight into your ancestors’ lives every 10 years. You can read more about how and where to search the census in our UK census guide.
The 1861 census
The 1861 census was taken on 7 April 1861 and in most respects, repeated the questions that had been asked in the 1851 census, with the addition, for Scotland, of questions on how many children aged 5-15 were being educated at home, and the number of rooms in the house with one or more windows.
What information does the UK 1861 census contain?
- First name
- Relationship to head of household
- Marital status
- Whether born in county where enumerated, plus county and parish for England & Wales
- Whether born in Scotland, Ireland or 'foreign parts' (England, Wales & Channel islands), or born in Scotland, England, Ireland or 'foreign parts' (Scotland)
- Whether blind, deaf or dumb (Scotland only)
- How many children aged 5-15 are being educated at home (Scotland only)
- How many rooms with 1 or more windows (Scotland only)
The population for England & Wales at this census was recorded as 20,066,224, Scotland: 3,062,294.
No full 1861 census survives for Ireland but you can search the existing records at National Archives Ireland.