England and Wales Census, 1871 (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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England and Wales Census, 1871
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
England and Wales
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Flag of England
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Flag of Wales
England and Wales in United Kingdom.svg.png
Record Description
Record Type Census
Collection years 1871
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
The National Archives



What is in This Collection?

The 1871 census was taken on the night of 2 April, 1871. Census schedules consist of large sheets with pre-printed rows and columns. The schedules are arranged by county and then divided by civil parish, while some are further subdivided into smaller enumeration districts, each district being an area that could be enumerated in a day. For reference purposes, the National Archives assigned a piece number to each enumeration district and stamped a folio number in the upper right corner of each right-side page. The number refers to entries on both sides of the page.

The Registrar General created the national censuses. Enumerators went door to door collecting the data in census books. Censuses taken between 1851 and 1931 were conducted on a single day, sometime between March 31 and April 8. The census takers listed only those who spent the night in each household, so individuals who were traveling or at school were listed where they spent the night. Almost all the residents of England are included in the census. Non-citizens were also included.

The following civil parishes, townships, or places in the registration district of Gower in Glamorgan and the Sub-District of Gower Western are missing:

  • Registration Sub-District 2B Gower Western
  • Porteynon
  • Penrice
  • Oxwich
  • Nicholaston
  • Penmaen (3)
  • Reynoldston
  • Llandewy
  • Knelston

The original schedules are well preserved and housed at the Public Records Office in Kew. The Registrar General created censuses for various reasons, including population studies, accessing military readiness, compiling lists of eligible voters, and tracking relief to the poor. The information gathered by the census taker is only as reliable as the person who provided the information. While some information may not be completely accurate, it can still provide important clues in locating an ancestor.

Image Visibility

Whenever possible, FamilySearch makes images available for all users. However rights to view images on our website are granted by the record custodians. This collection is available at the Family History Library, FamilySearch Centers, and to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. These images may be viewable to users who have contributed to the FamilySearch Indexing effort. Learn how to be a part of FamilySearch indexing here. The images are also available to all viewers for a fee at Findmypast. For additional information about image restrictions, please see the Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections page.

To Browse This Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for England and Wales Census, 1871.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

  • Place, district, parish and county where census was taken
  • Given name and surname of each household member
  • Relationship to head of household
  • Birthplace of each household member
  • Age, gender and marital status of each household member
  • Occupation
  • Physical impairments

Collection Content

How Do I Search This Collection?

If you do not know what registration district you need, find your location in: UK BMD Registration Districts In England and Wales.

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The name of the person
  • Approximate location of residence

Search the Index

Search by name by visiting the Collection Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes on the Collection Page with the information you have
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

How Do I Analyze the Results?

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?

  • Look at an image of the original record. The original may contain information that was not recorded in the index
  • Use the information to find additional family members in other censuses
  • Use the ages listed to determine an approximate birth date and to find other records such as birth, marriage, christening, and death records
  • Birth places can tell you former residences and can help to establish a migration pattern for the family

I Can’t Find the Person I’m Looking for, What Now?

  • If your ancestor does not have a common name, collect entries for every person who has the same surname. This can help you find possible relatives
  • If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they lived, then try searching records of a nearby locality
  • Check for other names. They might have been listed under a middle name, a nickname, or an abbreviation of their given name
  • Standard spelling of names typically did not exist during the periods our ancestors lived in. Try searching based on how the name may have been pronounced

Research Helps

The following articles will help you in your research for your family in England.

The following articles will help you in your research for your family in Wales.

Citing This Collection

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation
"England and Wales Census, 1871." Database with images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2016. From "1871 England, Scotland and Wales census." Database with images. findmypast. http://www.findmypast.com : n.d. Citing PRO RG 10. The National Archives, Kew, Surrey.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

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