Bedford Census Surname Indexes at the Family History Library

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Bedford Census Surname Indexes at the Family History Library

How surname indexes can help locate a person when a computer search of the large census databases is unsuccessful.

Goarrow.png  England ; Bedfordshire

Today, there are many useful websites and computer indexes for all of the England, Wales and Scotland.  These include those found at, the UK National Archives,, FindMyPast, etc.  These are a good place to begin your search for people in the census.

There are, however, times when you cannot find your ancestor in these large indexes.  Perhaps, a mistake was made when these large indexes were made, or a person's name was not easy to recognize in the census enumeration book, or the surname was spelled differently.  In such a situation, you may be able to find your ancestor in the census by using a smaller surname index for the parish or town of interest.  When looking at a smaller index, it can be easier to pick out an alternative spelling of a person's surname.  These indexes are also ideal for finding all of the people with a specific surname in a specific location.

Many of these are available, in book and microfiche form.  The Family History Library (Salt Lake City, Utah, USA) has a large and growing collection of these smaller indexes. 

How to use this table to find indexes at the library.

Below is a list of library call numbers at the Family History Library that the Library has in its collection of census surname indexes for the County of Bedford.  The call numbers are shown for the census years from 1841-1871 and 1891-1901.  The surname indexes that are part of the Library's collection are indexed by place, parish and census year.  Each header column contains a symbol.  If you click on this symbol, it will sort the information by that column.  For example, if you would like to know all of the indexes that in the Library's collection for a specific parish, then click on the symbol by the header for the parish column. You can resort by the place by clicking of the symbol by the place header.  A dot or a period in a table cell indicates that there is no index for this place for a given census year in the Library's collection.

The 1881 surname index books have not been tabulated in this reference table since the FamilySearch has a large nationwide surname index for this year or it can be found on microfiche #6086201-207.  The library is indebted to Elder Jordan Glew for his work over the years to keep this index current.

The surname indexes are listed by placename.  Click on the below link to go to the alphabetical list that contains the placename you are looking for a census index.


Goarrow.png  England ; Bedfordshire