Posted by on 18 January 2011 in Company News, General, Record Collections

Since releasing the 1911 Census England and Wales Summary Books last December, we’ve been contacted by a number of members who are understandably eager to know when the rest of the 1911 Census will become available on Ancestry. 

We’ve already received the original records for the Census and are now hard at work digitising and transcribing them. This process is very complex and differs for each collection, and we simply don’t know exactly how long it will take at this point. Something of this size would usually take around two years, but we’re doubling our efforts to make sure the whole collection is definitely available by the end of 2011.

We know the Summary Books aren’t as useful as the full collection but we wanted to give you access to part of the 1911 content as soon as possible. Throughout the year we’ll release the rest of the content in stages. The first stage will be all the scanned record images for the entire country, which we’re aiming to make available as soon as possible.  On this blog, we’ll regularly update you on our schedule and confirm any specific times as soon as we can share them with certainty.

Once the collection is released it will be available to all our UK Essentials, Premium and Worldwide members, at no extra cost.


Julie Cartledge 

Once again this update gives us no real information – just as soon as possible. How long is that exactly – one month, two months ?

How come this information has been available on Genes Reunited and Find My Past for 6 months but not on Ancestry ?

18 January 2011 at 7:05 pm
Chris Paton 

Thanks Annabel!


18 January 2011 at 7:16 pm


FMP and GR are owned by BrightSolid who won the tender to digitise a number of items that are held at the National Archives. This was awarded in 2008/2009 and included a 6 month exclusivity clause so that BrightSolid could recoup their money that they invested in transcribing digitising and publishing. This 6 months was from the date of the last entry being made available on their website. Once this was over Ancestry had to discuss costs and terms with TNA for the films so they could digitise the project for themselves. They now have to start transcribing that work and this is no easy project especially as this time there is no conformity in the hand writing. When they do finally release the images you will see what I mean because for some time there will be no searchable index. Patience is the word here and I for one ( who runs a genealogy business and needs this resource more than most) cannot wait for their release. Be thankful Ancestry have decided to do this work in partnership with the Genealogist


18 January 2011 at 7:16 pm
Mac McCree 

I have posted a reply to your latest comment in relation to my remarks as to re-posting as a new topic because I felt that unless people were prepared to look for a reply, they wouldn’t in fact find it and consequently know a reply by ancestry had in fact been made, I’m having problems posting as a number of mine over the last 4 weeks have sometimes not been visible and also comments appear invisible, I have e-mailed and also Facebook, nothing in responce from either at this moment in time 18.14. Tuesday 18th. January 2011
kind regards,

18 January 2011 at 7:18 pm
jan ellis 

Cant wait for the 1911 but it will hopefully be worth it. However as to the 1911 summary books,I have had no luck tracing any of my ancestors even though I know where they lived. Can anyone help on this?

18 January 2011 at 7:34 pm

I have been using the 1911 on Find My Past, and am now due to renew my Ancestry UK sub.
I have been with Ancestry for quite a few years now, and as we are retired, I love what it can do for me, but struggle to afford it.

How come a loyalty discount is not offered by Ancestry as it is with most sites?

In order to continue using the 1911 I might have to NOT re subscribe to Ancestry, it is too much overall.

A better idea of when the 1911 is really coming and what order it will be, which I feel you must know, might help me decide.

I am happy with Ancestry except when it comes to the expense. I have found it very helpful iin my research.


18 January 2011 at 7:47 pm
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18 January 2011 at 7:57 pm
Alf Berrington 

Can’t wait for the census to be released. I had been to the 1911 site a few times but having to pay for credits each time I visit restricts how much info I could look at before the credits ran out.

18 January 2011 at 8:45 pm
Lynnette Atkinson 

What is the use of releasing the 1911 census on Ancestry if it might be 2 years later than 2011? Most of the information needed will have been taken from other sites. It’s a real shame when so many people have been anticipating it

19 January 2011 at 11:46 pm

Am delighted that the 1911 census will appear on Ancestry. Such a pity that the original tender was won by that Scottish company, and that the current availability is exclusive to their own group of companies – BrightSolid own FMP and Genes – and their prices are not very competitive.

The best thing about Ancestry is the search engine, for example, I can look for a place without a person, the other providers only allow people searching.

BTW the 1911 census “should” have been released on the first working day of January 2012 – that being the 100 years closure period. So even if Ancestry don’t finish publishing it until the end of 2011 it’s still early!


20 January 2011 at 7:31 pm

In reply to Jan Ellis. I have found many transcription errors and have reported these to Ancestry, still waiting for a reply 5 days later. One of my ancestors is on Find My Past 1911 census but not Ancestry. There is not enough care and attention to the transcribing. For example, Mr. Brownscombe has been transcibed as Mr Rvownseomh. What a classic!!!

21 January 2011 at 4:10 pm

I have just telephoned Ancestry regarding the 1911 census transcription errors. I spoke to somebody in Utah and it appears that the 1911 census for England is transcribed in America. This may explain some of the transcription errors. Why cannot Ancestry get this work done in England?

21 January 2011 at 6:10 pm

If you think that having the 1911 Census transcribed in the US is a problem have a thought for us Welsh, especially those of us from the predominately Welsh speaking areas.

I have tried to use the Summary Books but the standard is so low that they are nigh on useless in fact I would go further and say they are an insult to our language and nation.

23 January 2011 at 9:35 pm

I am disappointed that it is taking so long for Ancestry to make the 1911 census available on their website, I decided last year to take full membership of Ancestry apposed to Genes Reunited because I thought that it provided me with better information unfortunately I think now that this decision was wrong as Genes Reunited already have the 1911 census. I therefore will not be renewing my membership when it expires.

26 January 2011 at 8:09 am

I am very disappointed in the length of time the 1911 is taking as it was dificult for me to fund this years membership, but did so purely as I believed the 1911 census would be available, however now it seems this years membership will be over before it is available to me. Some pre warning at renewal stage would of been appreciated and deemed to be honest. Now feel a very ‘tricked’ member as my fees would of been more use placed elsewhere. A discount next year????????????

26 January 2011 at 10:24 am
Frank Golby 

The Ancestry Website blub advertising the 1911 census states::”This database holds census books for the year 1911 in England. Available information includes address, given name, surname, number of people in the household and their relationship to the head of the family, marital status, age, gender, occupation, etc.”
Anyone foolish enough to spend money gaining access to what’s on offer will quickly realise that it falls well short of the description, perhaps to the point of being fraudulent.
I strongly recommend giving Ancestry a wide berth until they learn to respect their customers and behave in a professional and honest manner.

26 January 2011 at 7:49 pm

Owen, what irritates me even more is that, when obvious mistakes do occur and are corrected (freely!) by many Ancestry subscribers, those corrections are regarded by Ancestry as ‘alternatives’ and given little credibility. Alternatives to what, ignorance and incompetence???

28 January 2011 at 10:18 am

This is a message to Ancestry.
Considering the number of comments so far about the shambles that has made when transcribing the 1911 Enumerators’ Books I would have expected a response from Ancestry by now. Are you interested or are we all wasting our time?

30 January 2011 at 6:30 pm

It’s just typical for people who pay for a service to moan and complain and threaten to take their business elsewhere when that service doesnt do EXACTLY what they want it to. What really bugs me is that everyone expects access to the 1911 census on ancestry EXACTLY 6 months to the day after BrightSolid exclusive rights have expired and it really doesn’t work like that. We have to consider all the work that goes into bringing the census to us and that I’m sure that Ancestry are doing all they can to get it to us as soon as possible, so lets all be patient, remember that word patience?

30 January 2011 at 11:39 pm

I suppose the marketing department decided that something of the 1911 census had to be released ASAP, but really the situation for the coming year is that if you want any useful information from the 1911 census you still need to subscribe to another site as well as Ancestry. The summary books are not very useful.

31 January 2011 at 10:09 am
Annabel Bernhardt 

We appreciate that you want to see the 1911 Census on Ancestry as soon as possible, as do we, but we are still in the process of digitizing and transcribing 15 million images and 35 million records and at this point in time simply do not know exact timings.

This process is extremely complex and a collection of this size would usually take around two years to digitize and transcribe, but we’re doubling our efforts with the objective of making the whole collection available by the end of this year.

We will continue to keep our members fully updated until the complete census is available on

31 January 2011 at 1:44 pm

It is not that it should take a long time, that is understandable. It is that you gave the impression in Dec 2010 that it would be avalible very quickly in 2011. Us gullable customers thought it was ready to roll out.

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