Posted by on 24 February 2011 in Company News, General, Record Collections

As we told you last month, we’re going to use this blog to keep you informed of our progress with the 1911 Census, as we work towards having it all online in 2011. This is your second monthly update.

Over the past four weeks, we’ve been collecting together the scanned images of the Census pages, and processing them ready to be uploaded to our site. With over 35 million records to organise, this is no small task, but we’re making strong and steady progress.

As soon as we’ve finished this first stage, we’ll make all the images – for the entire country – available online. They won’t initially be searchable, but you’ll be able to browse them by place. So, you can use either the 1901 Census or the 1911 Summary Books to work out where your family were living, then locate the correct record.

We’ll then begin work on the mammoth task of transcribing the records. This will be done in stages. Unfortunately, we can’t say which counties will be available first until we’ve processed all the images, but we’ll keep you up-to-date with our progress through these updates.

All the 1911 Census records we release, at every stage, will be available as part of our existing Essentials, Premium and Worldwide memberships, at no extra cost.

45 Comments

Michael Thomas 

Looking forward to even the first non-searchable stage.

For a small town/village going through the whole place can be quite fun.

24 February 2011 at 4:28 pm
John Howes 

Will ‘place’ for the images be on the lines of other census – where you can select by County/Civil Parish/ district (I’m looking at 1901 for instance)? I see the summary books are arranged that way (although the full location browse option isn’t there), so yes?

24 February 2011 at 6:45 pm
Hilary Gunn 

Would it not be possible to put the images on in stages rather than waiting till they’re all done? This may be a second update but it doesn’t say any more than the last one – we still know nothing!

24 February 2011 at 11:08 pm
Aileen 

1911 SCOTTISH Census – Coming Soon

The Registrar General for Scotland has announced that the 1911 census will be released on Tuesday 5 April 2011.

I wonder when it will be on here?

25 February 2011 at 10:29 am
Bob Harwood 

OK – Last year it was said that the 1911 census would be released in early 2011. So far not true. But I accept that there must be a lot of work to do, and also to release them in a good (searchable) way. So I look forward to seeing something “sometime”in 1911.
Regards.

26 February 2011 at 5:44 pm
Steve Buchanan 

I’m really excited about the prospect of 1911 census being released this year and would like to thank Ancestry.com for their great work.
The release will allow me to trace some near ancestors (who didn’t immigrate to Australia and Canada) and hopefully I’ll be able contact them. If it takes a couple of extra months, then I won’t complain as I wouldn’t have been able to access the information otherwise at a fee I could afford.
Keep up the good work.

27 February 2011 at 12:01 am
Carol Whitfield 

Yes thanks for the good work you do and I do understand the size of this task, but I have been on another popular site and found my near ancestors in their 1911 census. As I already pay the Worldwide subscription to ancestry I find paying again to another web site rather expensive.
My question is ‘how can another site produce the 1911 census now and Ancestry can’t. ????

27 February 2011 at 3:10 pm
Sonya 

I totally agree with Carol – how CAN another site produce the 1911 census NOW and Ancestry can’t!!! Also, pleeeeease could you put more parish records online???

27 February 2011 at 5:54 pm
Chris barker 

Carol,

The other site is the official govt site which obviously has site of the records before they are released on the 100th anniversary. They can transcribe the records in advance so can be released early. Ancestry can only see the record on the release date so do not get a running start so to speak.
The Family records office use the other site as a partner to earn revenue and save on cost of hosting the site.

27 February 2011 at 8:34 pm
Russell James 

Thank you all for your understanding. Rest assured, we’re as keen as you all are for this census to be complete and online as soon as possible.

To answer Carol and Sonya, when the 1911 Census initially became available to host online, it was only available to publishers as part of a pay-per-view package. Because this is such a key resource, we waited until it became available for us to provide to our members within our existing memberships. As soon as this became possible, we began the process of acquiring it and then getting it online as fast as we can.

28 February 2011 at 11:14 am
William Austin 

I must admit that I was very disappointed when I first heard that it could be another 12 months before the 1911 census would be available.

This latest news, however, is really good to hear and will look forward to being able to study the census, street by street.

Thank you.

1 March 2011 at 4:27 pm
Susan 

I wellcome the arrival of the complete 1911 Census – eventually. I just hope the transcription will be more accurate than on the Government site Nat. Archives. I paid in advance for credits and was unable to use them as names and addresses which I knew to be correct did not show up. Fortunately I know about my immediate family in 1911 but it is still interesting to see the Census forms.

2 March 2011 at 12:59 am
Phil 

Once the images are released, can we the users, enter in a transcription for you?

The alternative is that we either have to go back later and check you have transcribed correctly or leave mis-transcribed data in your database.

Just a thought.

4 March 2011 at 8:56 pm
John Taylor 

Having also paid another subscription to Findmypast purely in order to access the 1911 Census, I’m also pleased to see it will be available on Ancestry. However I hope that Ancestry will take note of their competitor’s search engine, which is much more user-friendly than the Ancestry one which generates thousands of false positive results on every search. The one on Findmypast is much more straightforward – if it can’t find a name it tells you, instead of making you wade through masses of irrelevant suggestions.

4 March 2011 at 9:46 pm
John S Turner 

John Taylor

Are you using the ‘new’ search facility? It drives me mad – although I have to say my sister likes it. Switch back to the ‘old search’, it looks for exactly what you ask for and if it doesn’t find it, it says so. You still have the option of ‘Soundex’ if you want to be adventurous!

4 March 2011 at 10:20 pm
Darren Vidler 

Just like to say while i appreciate the good work
on getting the 1911 census online. it’s very annoying having to look at summary Books that just
say MR Vidler it would be helpful to have at least
one or two intials in front which would save time.
There is mention of putting more records online
but some already online have yet to be finished ie
The Valuation Survey for 1910 has only some London
Records and none on Kent and elsewhere where my relatives lived
Darren Vidler

4 March 2011 at 11:57 pm
denize 

I paid for 6 months on findmypast.co.uk and you can do as many searches as you like, i found this a lot better than buying 280 credits and each search you opened costing 10 therefore you only get to open 28 census,and i wasted most of these the 1st time i bought them.You can also view the actual form that your ancestors filled in and i found this excellent as it told me wether they could write or if the enumerator filled in the form, and also how many children were born and how many were still living, and how long they had been married.
If anyone needs any searching please feel free to contact me @ tigra123@live.co.uk,or tigra54 on Ancestry. and supply me with as much info as possible and i will be only to happy to try and help.
Denize.

5 March 2011 at 12:25 am
Toni 

I’m glad that the 1911 census will be here eventually. I much prefer ancestry over FMP. The search facility on ancestry is better as it gives more details in the search results.

Phil’s comment of allowing users to transcribe is a good one although I wonder if it is that simple. How do they know what has and hasn’t been transcribed?

5 March 2011 at 12:49 am
Jane Sherwood 

I have been happy to wait for Ancestry to provide us with the 1911 census details, because of bad experience with FindMyPast. I will not be the only Ancestry member whom they encouraged to buy expensive – and unuseable – credits for an archive which it transpired Ancestry was to make available within the week. Thank you, therefore, for keeping us informed about the schedule for 1911 becoming available. Unlike John Taylor, I found the FindMyPast search engine hopeless – giving a nil return for people who were living precisely where I expected them to be, of the right age etc.. By contrast, the Ancestry search facility has allowed me to find lots of truly elusive ancestors, precisely because it offers alternatives. If a surname might have been mis-entered by the enumerator, or mistranscribed, we can enter just forenames/ date & place of birth, then scroll and screen for likely contenders, often winkling them out! Making corrections has also alerted other very distant relatives to notice my interests and make contact, which has been thoroughly enjoyable all round. (I haven’t wanted to publish a tree.) I agree with John S Turner that the Old Search is much more discriminating than the new one – must find out where you’ve currently hidden it! Pending the Ancestry full release of the 1911 census, I suggest people ask the odd favour from a friend who already has unlimited access to it. There are often favours we can do in return – especially trawling cleverly for missing pieces of earlier information. How very nice of Denize to offer 1911 look-ups for people stuck without them – Ancestry working at its very best!

5 March 2011 at 8:30 am
David 

Since the first notifications of the 1911 Census being advertised as becoming available I have sent numerous mails in the meantime to ask when it would be fully available. Your basic response was always to refer to a standard reply in your database and your staff had no further information to give. I found this very disappointing and towards the time I had to re-new my membership I reconsidered whether or not to change to another company as they already had the census on line.
I gave you the benefit of the doubt with your promise of an early release of the data and to my utter disappointment only find the Enumerator Books are available. This dangling of a carrot in front of our faces only to find it doesn’t really offer the real carrot in the end is enfuriating.
The Enumerator Books offer very limited information and it is only a full searchable index which we expect for our expensive subscriptions which would satisfy our appetites. Why Ancestry is so far behind it’s competitors is beyond me.
Also the fees charged for obtaining birth, marriage and death certificates is exhorbitant and I wonder how many people have fallen for this. Ordering direct from the General Records Office is although recently increased in price (to 9pds 25p), much cheaper than using Ancestry.
Although in general I like Ancestry, I find lots of people are missing out on a wonderful hobby as they find it more and more difficult to pay the high price charged for your (and other’s sites too) services. Maybe we can have a reduction in subscriptions to make it available to more people hence still retaining your revenues with more subscribers and more competetive than your competitors.

5 March 2011 at 10:29 am
D 

We must remember that Brightsolid, the company who own FMP, were given a couple of year’s exclusivity to the 1911 UK census, so that they could recoup their costs. This site, or any other for that matter, was excluded from purchasing it until that time was up.

Currently, the other place has 6 or 12 month subs for unlimited access to 1911 only, although it is good to know that this site will include it with even the Essentials package. At least with Ancestry we will (hopefully) be able to add corrections or notes to mistransciptions. With different people doing the transcriptions, its always worth check with a free search on the other sites which hold the records to discover your missing relatives, such as 1911census.co.uk.

Despite the alternative sources, it is always possible that some people weren’t recorded, or the pages were lost. Some of the Suffragettes refused to complete it!

5 March 2011 at 10:59 am
D 

In response to David’s remarks about BMD certs –

ONLY order from http://www.gro.gov.uk. Ancestry have to obtain them from there any way, and the £9.25 includes the P&P to anywhere in the world. It is a safe site (well, as safe as any Government site is) and accepts secure payment by credit or debit card.

As an avid FH hobbist, I find Ancestry invaluable and good value for money, but there are various deals around to reduce the subscription costs. Hint – Ancestry are currently supporting the National Trust. If you have been a member for some years, it is always phoning the company when your renewal is due. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!

5 March 2011 at 11:09 am
Chris Manning 

I do agree with Jane Sherwood – the FMP search engine is utterly infuriating, but I’m afraid the host of completely useless and unrelated records that the Ancestry one turns up are no better!

The answer? Individual searches, don’t hit the ‘search the records’ button unless you want to waste some time or get it wrong.

On the whole, though, Ancestry – as infuriating as it can be – is hard to beat, and way ahead of FMP with everything but the 1911 census.

5 March 2011 at 11:14 am
Margot O'Connor 

D,

I also find Ancestry invaluable and good value for money and, like you, am interested in the various deals to reduce the subscription costs.
Please explain your hint re National Trust again!

5 March 2011 at 11:34 am
David Tunstill 

I agree with most of the above comments. I to was a FMP subscriber but found the site slow. The 1911,in their defence, was helpful to me. Since moving to Ancestry I have moved forward in leaps and bounds. I’m totally satisfied and content. And I know the wait for the 1911 will be worth it.

5 March 2011 at 11:46 am
June Hope 

I agree in a way with most of the issues raised, I even asked if it was worth my paying a fee this year in anticipation of the 1911 stuff and told “oh yes” but we are still no wiser as to when we can see the information!
And initials would go a long way to aiding detective work!

5 March 2011 at 3:32 pm
Lilian Knightley 

I must agree with a lot that has been said above, I have found it frustrating that we only have the enumerator books, as I am looking for my mother, I know she was in a convent in London as a baby, but of course I don’t know the Head of the place or the name, Yes I can pay out more and go straight to the 1911 Census, but I for one am not made of money, us Senior Citizens at the moment are having to count our pennies, come on Ancestry don’t let us down you did promise after all.

5 March 2011 at 4:26 pm
Jayne 

I started out on findmypast when it was called 1837online, but I found missing ancestors on the Ancestry search. So I don’t find the findmypast search very user friendly, though it does have a handy address search on some censuses which has helped at times. I sent to TNA for the 1911 census of my great grandfather before it was available online (£45), then, like a few other people, I posted a transcription on the original 1911 site which I think is still available. So transcriptions by everyone could be a good thing. A second cousin contacted me when he saw the transcription I’d made available and sent me some wonderful photos of the family I’d transcribed, and lots of information. I’ve found people hard to find on both the 1911 and findmypast site. I also prefer to use the OLD search on Ancestry so I’m looking forward to finding people more easily on the 1911 census at Ancestry.

5 March 2011 at 6:53 pm
Chris Roberts 

I absolutely agree that the OLD Ancestry search is the best. Personally, I am delighted that the 1911 census will eventually be available here, and I think we just have to be patient!
One thing I think Ancestry could improve would be to allow the form to retain the searched-for name and other details over several censuses – so you don’t have to enter it each time you look at a new year. I think I am right in saying FMP allows this, so it can’t be technically impossible.

5 March 2011 at 8:45 pm
Ed Williams 

When I started researching FH records back in the 1960′s, it was a manual chase through the record books and microfilm readers. Now we are in the computer age, anything is progress on those old days. I have been very content with Ancestry’s offerings, and although I have frustrations in some of my searches for early Saskatchewan records, or in the hill farm communities of North Wales, I must praise Ancestry for the high quality of their data bases, and at least the searches can be done from home instead of at a research centre. The wait every decade to get the latest data just teases the anticipation delight.

5 March 2011 at 10:41 pm
Sheila 

I, too, would like to se the return of the old ‘search’, I found it much better and not so confusing.

Also, I agree that it would be a good idea for those who search for their families in the 1911 census could also transcribe the census pages they view for you at the same time. What do you think?

6 March 2011 at 12:58 pm
Chris Roberts 

Sheila, you can get the Old Search back – go into the Search tab at the top of the Home page, click on the down arrow, and there should be an option to go to Old Search.

6 March 2011 at 1:19 pm
Chris Roberts 

Sorry, I got that slightly wrong. You need to click on Search, which takes you to the Search page. You can then click on “Go to Old Search” at the top right hand side of the page.

6 March 2011 at 3:31 pm
Yvonne Bragg 

I have found reading comments fascinating. I have just represcribed with Ancestry. This only my second year, and I have been more than delighted with what I have uncovered. However not without its frustrations. Most of my ancesters on both paternal and maternal sides pretty much all come from one area, Somerset. The parish records have not been helpful, have had to go elsewhere to go back further, ie 1600 1700s. I too had hoped 1911 census would fill in those later relatives known but names not remebered, have deciphered very few. Not helpful in there present format to me. Good tip on alternative certificate purchasers, have had several through Ancestry only if I was certain they would be right.

7 March 2011 at 7:33 pm
Yvonne Bragg 

oops! Said represcribed? obviously meant re subscribed, sorry.

7 March 2011 at 7:46 pm
Ken McIntosh 

I have been waiting for the 1911 Census, but I realize that there is a lot of preparation for it. However,I have also been researching my Scottish ancesters using Scottish People Census facilities and I have had trouble finding my ancestors..it costs about 6 credits to get this information for one family. Yet using Ancestry’s Scottish Census facilities, I have had a lot of success. ken.

8 March 2011 at 6:19 pm
Chris Thomas 

I am an ardent amateur user of on-line genealogy resources, and a subscriber to Ancestry – having tried many sites in the early days, I decided that Ancestry became the BEST (though I sometimes resort to others if Ancestry fails me). However, as a computer ‘expert’ of 40 yrs experience, I am appalled at the very poor design of almost all web-sites – does no-one teach systems analysis nowadays?
I have offered my analytical services, for free, to sites that will take my offer seriously, so that I’m not just wasting my time, but such contact is usually discarded by junior staff who have no concept of the value of such an offer.
The database held is vital, but the best data in the world is useless without good search-engine facilities. Yours have gone backwards recently, and long sessions of searching are becoming VERY frustrating!
If you are interested in discussing my comments in depth, contact me…

8 March 2011 at 8:08 pm
Keith Lee 

Family History research, although time consuming is a great hobby. Comments by earlier subscribers about helping with transcription is a very good idea. I am fortunate enough to have knowledge of the areas where my ancestors lived and this gives me the advantage of reading place names and peoples names which the transcriber might not know. Understanding old styles of handwriting is an asset when reading the original document. Any assistance I could give ie correcting spellings of details can only benefit the next member looking for that particular person/place and avoid unnecessary trawling through lists of irrelevant information. It is useful to have the choice of both Old & New Search. I look forward to an early release of the 1911 Census in an accessible format.
I would like to propose that you consider a reduced subscription on all of your packages for OAP’s. It might increase your overall membership and revenue!!!!

9 March 2011 at 11:58 am
B.Woods 

These monthly updates are far too vague !!
“as we work towards having it all online in 2011″ and
” …. making strong and steady progress” means little, other than there is a possibility that your fee paying members may see the 1911 census in the next 9 months.

You should be telling us how far along you have got in terms of percentage or similar figure to give us a more finite measure of progress.

9 March 2011 at 3:58 pm
robert parr 

I agree with Carol Whitfield’s, comments. I felt the biggest insult was that having just paid my annual subscription I was informed that if I wanted the 1911 census I could obtain this through your sister company
by taking out a further subscription.

9 March 2011 at 5:40 pm
derek pickard 

How is it that I can get full access on Find my Past. I must add that they also had full cover of the census last year???

9 March 2011 at 11:19 pm
mark field 

The reason that Ancestry are only just getting the 1911 census is that Find My Past had the rights to it for an x amount of time, pay per view first and then subscription, these rights were exclusive and they proberly paid a tidy sum for that, hence the very high prices they charge. In time ancestry will have it and from what I see they are putting in with their existing subs. Derek that is why you can get it on FMP and not here. But I do agree why can’t ancestry say for example, in May we have this from 1911, then in August we have this rather than keep on saying some time this year. If I remember FMP were vague like this as well and they were very misleading.

10 March 2011 at 8:24 am
Lin Traill 

The comments on the 1911 Census have been varied and echo many of my own thoughts. I also agree with there being too many unrelated issues in the searches.

I recently telephone Ancestry.co.uk with a query and was told to write to the researchers, which I did. Now, some 2/3 weeks later I have still not had a response.

My membership is Worldwide (but it has limitations). My query was why could I not find details of US death records on Ancestry when I have been able to find them on Family Search? Obviously they are available and I would like to attach them to my Ancestry tree, preferable to scanning and attaching. I was given a reference number 110209-001373, but am still waiting for an answer.

10 March 2011 at 11:12 am
Russell James 

Thank you for your further comments/suggestions. I’m not going to be able to respond to all of them here. However, I’ll reply on a couple of key points, which will hopefully help.

In terms of giving specific dates on 1911, we would love to be able to do this, and we will do as soon as we can. Sadly we can’t be specific at present, as we don’t know exactly how long the process will take. It’s difficult to be precise with the digitisation of so many historical records, as we can’t predict how many issues such as damaged or mis-filed pages we’ll run into. We’d hate to provide you all with a date, and then find we can’t achieve it, as this would certainly be misleading.

Turning to other records, it’s not the case that once one website has a set of records they’re automatically available to all websites. So, you will occasionally find records on another website that aren’t on Ancestry.co.uk. However, from the other point of view, there are literally millions of important records on Ancestry.co.uk that you won’t find on any other website.

We’re always adding new record collections. So, if there are any records you’d like to see which we don’t currently have, please do let us know.

10 March 2011 at 11:46 am
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