Posted by on 9 December 2010 in Company News, General, Record Collections

It gives me great pleasure to tell you that today we launched the first part of the England and Wales 1911 Census, in the form of the Summary Books

For those of you who may not have caught the first announcement, we reached an agreement last October with The National Archives to acquire and publish online the 1911 England and Wales Census.  Because it is such a large collection we’re putting it up in stages, starting with today’s Summary Books

The 1911 Census Summary Books are a fantastic resource which can help you cross-track your ancestors through other censuses, telephone books, military records and other records, during the early part of the 20th century.

The complete set of 1911 Census record images will launch online in early 2011, followed by the indexes, which will be made available in sections throughout the remainder 2011.

Click here to start searching!


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9 December 2010 at 2:20 pm
Mick M 

I understand what the census record images are but what are the ‘indexes’ ?


9 December 2010 at 6:37 pm
lyn offord 

I find the 1911 census summary books not a lot of use as unless you have an address or at least an area already it is impossible to find anyone. A list which consists of Mr, Mrs or Miss and surname only with no first names is pretty useless. Even if you do find your family the only real information it gives you is the number of males and females resident but again no names – extremely fustrating! I look forward to the indexes which like the other census returns I hope will have photgraphic images of the originals.

9 December 2010 at 7:42 pm
Chris R 

Can you give us some idea of the timescales for putting up the household schedules please? Or if not that, then the order in which they are being transcribed? I am not currently subscribed to Ancestry but I will when there is enough of the 1911 to be useful to me.


9 December 2010 at 8:04 pm

I am sure many will welcome that Ancestry is finally moving to add the 1911 Census, a bidding process which many will know that Ancestry pulled out of back in 2008.

However, i’m concerned that Ancestry appear, certainly that’s my take on the wording from Ancestry’s PR department, to be dragging this process out as long a possible to ensure that membership levels remain “active” for longer during these financial restrictive times.

Annabel, would it be possible to relay information from your technical department for a timeline that a little less open ended?

9 December 2010 at 9:35 pm

Great news, thank you. I have been hoping Ancestry would put 1911 on line. Do you have an order in which the areas will be released. I am I right in that there will be no extra cost to us for this service and it will be included in our normal subscription packages, unlike another company on line!


10 December 2010 at 11:03 am

I like Mike echo the wish for no extra charge for this service as the flat rate is the reason I stay with Ancestry over other sites, especially as many of us key for you as well.

10 December 2010 at 3:50 pm

Can Ancestry try do to a better job of transcribing the indexes for the census images than you have done for the summary pages? I’ve already reported a large number of errors to Technical Support!

10 December 2010 at 5:59 pm
Eileen Chapman 

I found on the summary books the name I had been searching for as I did know the address… but couldn’t find it on the 1911 census could this have been left off so will await the 1911 census on Ancestry

11 December 2010 at 4:37 am

Oh dear, the transcription errors are flowing thick and fast !

Both the Parish and the Ecclesiastical Parish in the Enumerator’s Summary Book – 9 of 15 Pages have been wrongly transcribed………. and it’s not the enumerators handwriting that is at fault either !…… This is just sloppiness on the part of the transcriber, (was he/she working piece work?) reminds me of the ‘Friday Ford car’.

I hope that the census transcription will be an improvement(guess I’d better not hold my breath).

11 December 2010 at 5:17 am

Ancestry, hate to tell you this, but I have checked the transcripts of the Enumeration Districts 13-29 for Coseley and they
all have errors. Even the Civil Parish on the drop down menu is wrongly spelt.

What a pity such a glaring error was not noticed before you went public.

Civil Parish: COSELEY (not CORSLEY)

11 December 2010 at 6:04 am

At last something is happening with the 1911 Census, but can you please give us an idea when the Full Cennsus will be available. May its me but I don’t understand the difference between “The complete set of 1911 Census record images” and the indexes. From what your saying one will be available early 2011 and the other “will be made available in sections throughout the remainder 2011”. That is very vague and, bepending on timescale, could make the difference between continuing with membership or moving to another site where the information is available NOW.

11 December 2010 at 12:47 pm

Bob #12
My interpretation is that we are going to be given access to scans of the census pages and will be able to view them in the same way we would view microfilm versions, page by page. However, we will not be able to search for a person and bring up their entry in the census until the index (transcription) has been finished.

11 December 2010 at 2:40 pm
Marylynn Burbridge 

Will the 1911 Scottish census details be available?

12 December 2010 at 11:54 am
Annabel Bernhardt 

Thank you all for your comments, we appreciate that you want exact timings but we are still in the early planning stages and looking at the most effective way of delivering the complete 1911 Census to our members. Despite work already undertaken with the 1911 Census we still need to process all the images and create a brand new index to the records. Though our primary objective at this point is to make these records available online as quickly as possible, indexing over 15 million images takes time and unfortunately it is impossible to confirm exact delivery dates at this stage. We will have a clearer idea of when the indexes will be online in the early part of this year and will continue to keep our members fully updated until the complete collection is available.

13 December 2010 at 1:14 pm
Julia Bentley 

I am very glad about Ancestry having access to the 1911 Census. I will always research my family tree through you, as you are reasonable with your charges in that you can look up as many records as you like and not have to pay a per view fee.

Yes, there are a lot of transcription errors, but if you take the time to correct your family’s records and advise Ancestry, these are ironed out gradually, but it is not always Ancestry’s transcribers who are at fault. I found a baptism in one of the LMA records to be incorrect.

Keep up the good work Ancestry – you’ve come a long way since I first joined in 2004.

14 December 2010 at 1:11 pm

hey Annabel, how are you? n where are you .. Long time no contact?…

15 December 2010 at 3:55 pm

Any chance of getting Gateshead in the right county?
You have it in Northumberland rather than Durham. Yes, I realise that this was a glitch that occurred in both the 1911 official site and in Find My Past, but they both managed to correct it quite quickly.
I wonder how long it will take Ancestry? So far its been months since the omissions from the Probate Calendar were reported and ‘still’ no sign of that being corrected.

I love ancestry, but really do think that a bit more attention to quality rather than quantity would really help.

17 December 2010 at 2:12 pm

The index is intresting but is not going to help the family tree. Its realy a tease without the full census behind it. However the two togeather will be very powerful so I was wondering what about the other years is there any index for them? I have found a number of family members by ‘walking’ from one end of a vilage to the other. With an index that would be easier and quicker.

17 December 2010 at 7:04 pm
Andrew Long 

The Find my Past website have had the full 1911 census online for months. I have a subscription with them as well and have already completed my research. I must agree with other commenters that the summary books don’t add any real value and Ancestry would be better spending their time (and my not inconsiderable subscription) in getting their finger out and publishing the records for 1911 as FMP have already done.

I would also add that there are numerous problems with indexing. I was unable to search for an ancestor in Saltaire and was forced to go through each district file until I found it.

19 December 2010 at 12:53 am
Janet Adamson 

Have tried to use the 1911 census,(enumerator’s books) but am not sure whether the records are complete – trying to look up families I know to be in Droitwich, Worcs, but only entries for Kidderminster come up – very frustrating

20 December 2010 at 3:56 pm
Graham J 

If the database is such a ‘fantastic resource’, would it not have been a good idea to arrange for web merging with FTM to work before it was released? Two weeks in and all that is produced is an error. This seems to happen every time a database is released.

One of the biggest frustrations with Ancestry is the apparent lack of interest in correcting transcription errors. The ‘Add alternate information’ does allow users to submit corrected information, although the original mistakes are never removed and it has the additional weakness that is also allows them to pollute the index with equally incorrect transcriptions and information that isn’t in the original source (maiden surnames and alternative spellings for example may be useful but should be indexed separately). However in all too many databases only a subset of the available fields may have alternate information and with the summary books it is just the ‘Name’, which is better than nothing but pretty hopeless. One would have though the ability to correct the address would be equally important.

21 December 2010 at 8:48 am
Annabel Bernhardt 

Hi Janet, in our shortened search form you can such for a place by county and civil parish. However, Droitwich is a registration district so try going to ‘advanced search’ and entering Droitwich under ‘registration district’.

21 December 2010 at 11:44 am