1841 Census

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On Sunday, 6 June 1841, the first nominal (all name) census was taken in England

Class: HO107; Piece: 1337; Book: 5; Civil Parish: Sheffield; County: Yorkshire; Enumeration District: 9; Folio: 13; Page: 21; Line: 4; GSU roll: 464282

When the 1841 England Census was taken, enumeration forms were given to every household and the householder was asked to record the names and details for all persons who spent the night of 6 June 1841 in the house.  If a family member was away from home on census night, they were to be recorded wherever they spent the night.  Night workers, who normally lived in the house and who would return from work in the morning were to be recorded.

Questions Asked of the Householder

  • Name of the street or road
  • House name or number
  • Surname of head of household
  • Name of persons who had spent the night in the household
  • Age 1)The age of those persons over 15 years old were usually rounded down to the nearest five years.
  • Gender
  • Person’s occupation
  • Where born 2)Where born was either “Y” for born in the same county or “N” for born in a different county.  If no, abbreviations used were “E” for England, “S” for Scotland, “I” for Ireland or “F” for Foreign places.

Only the first of the given names were to be recorded.  Middle names were to be omitted.

Abbreviations for Occupations

  • Ind – independent means
  • M.S. – male servant
  • F.S. – female servant
  • J. – journeyman
  • Ap – apprentice
  • M. – manufacturer
  • m. – maker
  • Cl – clerk
  • Ag lab – agricultural labourer
  • Army H.P. – army half-pay
  • Army P. – army pensioner
  • Navy H.P. – navy half-pay
  • Navy P. – navy pensioner

Special Notes

The 1841 census was written in pencil rather than pen.  The clerks also made additional marks on the returns as they compiled and reviewed the information, making some information difficult to read.  One of the more useful annotations is the “/” between households within a building and the “//” between households in separate buildings.

National Archives Record Group

The National Archives record group for the 1841 census is HO107, pieces 1 – 1465.  Registration Districts were the same as those used by the Registrar General for the recording of births, marriages and deaths.

Helpful Links

TNA’s “Your Archives” has street indexes to the 1841 census on their wiki.

Guy Etchells has documented the instructions given to the enumerators for the 1841 census.

References   [ + ]

1. The age of those persons over 15 years old were usually rounded down to the nearest five years.
2. Where born was either “Y” for born in the same county or “N” for born in a different county.  If no, abbreviations used were “E” for England, “S” for Scotland, “I” for Ireland or “F” for Foreign places.

Barbara J Starmans is a social historian, freelance writer and obsessed genealogist living in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada and has been doing genealogical research for the past 35 years. She is a graduate of the National Institute for Genealogical Studies in Toronto, Canada with professional learning certificates in General Methodology and in English Records and recently become an instructor for them with an intermediate course on Social History.

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