Posted by on 24 May 2011 in General, Record Collections

1911 CensusI’m pleased to announce that we’ve completed the first stage of our 1911 Census release. Any of our members can log in to the site right now, and browse the scanned record images from all over England, Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. 

If you’ve already traced your tree up to 1901, this will obviously let you bring your research forward another decade. If you’re new to family history on the other hand, the 1911 Census is a great starting point.

Many of you will actually have met relatives who were recorded in it, so you’re likely to have some strong information to help your search. I’ve already found my great-grandfather, who I remember writing dirty limericks and drawing strange sketches of cats when I was a child. I can’t wait to show my mum his record.

This collection also offers some terrific advantages over its predecessors. It includes extra details such as how long couples had been married and how many children they’d had.

Even better, it’s the first census where we can provide you with the householder forms filled in by your ancestors – so you can see their original handwriting, and read any extra notes they may have made. Sadly, great-granddad Hill was too young to write his own entry, so I missed out on one of his naughty rhymes!

At present, it’s not possible to search the records as you would with previous censuses. We’ve already started work on the transcriptions that will make this possible, and we’re on track to have them all finished by the end of the year – we’ll continue to keep you updated on our progress on this blog.

In the meantime, you can browse the records by county and civil parish. So, to track down your family, you need to have an idea of where they were living.

If you can’t find this out from talking to parents or grandparents, there are two main ways of discovering it using our records, either through the 1911 Census Summary Books or the 1901 Census.

For help with either of these methods, and more about the records, visit our 1911 Census page

36 Comments

Jayne Bayliss 

It took me about half an hour to find my family, but I got there in the end!! Looking forward to being able to search properly, until then a subscription to another site with a fully functioning 1911 census might be less stressful.

24 May 2011 at 3:25 pm
Hilary Gunn 

Hooray! at least there’s something to look at and hours of happy hunting in front of me. Wouldn’t you believe it’s typical – after all this waiting I’m going on holiday tomorrow for a fortnight. Wonder how much I can do today rather than cleaning the house!!

24 May 2011 at 3:43 pm
Boo 

Congratulations! You have included a whole batch of images from Chopwell in County Durham that were ‘missed’ when FMP did the 1911, they do not appear on the ‘official’ 1911 census site or the FMP site. Thank you SO much!
It will be interesting to search when the records are transcribed to see if there are any other gaps in what has previously been available. I may yet find my Granda :-)

Now, you could make my day and transcribe and upload the images you missed by uploading only every other page in sections of the Probate Calendar :-)
( look at names starting with Ri in 1930 for an example, I reported it when the Probate Calendar went online but nothing has changed yet)

24 May 2011 at 5:33 pm
Den 

not before time but well done and I hope it is as rewarding as the many other searchable material on the patform. All come to those who wait!

24 May 2011 at 7:27 pm
Sarah 

Here is how I have figured finding people (The first one I looked at was 690 images, I finally found it on image 663 typically towards the end)

If you can pinpoint who you want in the “enumerator summary books” look at the first colum headed “number of schedule” see what number is listed next to your ancestor then ‘double’ that number, take note of which registration district it is and the registration number.

In the 1911 images section – select the registration district and district number you noted then enter the doubled number and the image should be there or a couple of images further on.

After doing the above which I hope makes sense I found my 2nd one in appox 3 minutes.

Happy hunting

24 May 2011 at 7:56 pm
Mike Matthews 

If the forms were filled out by the head of the household, why are there mistakes? For instance, why did my gr-grandfather’s brother call his wife Clarence rather than Florence? Are *all* forms definitely completed by householders?

25 May 2011 at 12:41 pm
mofid421 

I for one will not be stamping my feet, grumbling and threatening to leave because the 1911 census isn’t in an easy format to use. I started this hobby at a time when there were no census on line let alone an indexed one, so I am used to having to use my ingenuity and patience to find my ancestors. As someone who can’t easily travel to record offices I am grateful just to have access at home.. but still looking forward to the time when index arrives!!

25 May 2011 at 1:36 pm
Samuel Lyle 

Boo, Ive found a family in chopwell on findmypast. They do have those records. I wonder if we’re related?

25 May 2011 at 4:49 pm
John Gunn 

Hilary

I agree further hunting to be done.

Wonder if we are related !!

Gunns196

25 May 2011 at 7:41 pm
Hilary Gunn 

It’s possible, especially if you’re from Yorkshire.

25 May 2011 at 10:45 pm
Limeyrr 

What I’ve been doing, is after I’ve located the record I’m after, I go back and add a variation correction to the original summary book entry. That way, when the correction is added it will include the head’s full name not just Mr. or Mrs. whatever.

Just my thoughts to hope save someone else some work.

They should have it, that once you locate a family you can transcribe it. That way you’re transcribing your family and there will be more chance of it being correct.

25 May 2011 at 10:46 pm
ronberrimanbass 

Sarah’s comment above has saved me a lot of toil finding family members in 1911. However, it does depend on the accuracy of summary books index. And, at least in the Dartford District, there are serious problems. It appears that whoever scanned the book images got the images mixed up between different ennumeration districts within the registration district. For example, according to the summary book index, many of the family’s in Wilmington, Kent should be in ED 26. All the ones that I’ve checked so far are in ED 28. ED 26 is in a different civil parish.

The real problem with the summary book images (from TNA’s contract with Brightsolid?) is that unlike previous censuses, the images don’t include any identifying serial numbers, so there’s no direct way to check the index accuracy. And there’s no way for me to tell if the problem was created by Ancestry, or if it already existed in the image sets as supplied to Ancestry.

26 May 2011 at 12:57 am
Len 

Having been up and down Dunton Green I can confirm that the index and the images do not match. For example if you start at one end, on both, they very soon get out of sync. I have been jumping 10 pages at a time in the hope of hitting the right street. The forms were only filled in by the head of the house if the person could read and write. Also if people had two names then its not uncommon for either of the names to be used.

26 May 2011 at 3:10 pm
Sarah 

Hi Ron

I’m glad my previous comment has been of some help to you and Len sorry it hasn’t for you. The counties I’m looking at are Lancashire and Cheshire and so far it has been spot on for me everytime finding the images. I did try and look for a surname in London but sadly it didn’t work on that one so maybe I’m just fortunate on the counties I currently need to look at.

26 May 2011 at 4:10 pm
Graham 

I find Ancestry’s organisation of the census strange. The census itself is organised by ‘registration district’ (named and numbered), a ‘sub-registration district’ (named and numbered) and then the ‘enumeration district’ (numbered).

The registration district can cross county boundaries but is assigned to one registration county for census purposes. There is no one to one correspondence between registration disticts and parishes (civil or otherwise). Civil parishes can appear in more than one registration district.

It is a nice simple hierarchy.

So what do Ancestry do?

They start with a county and a civil parish. A number of non-counties are listed and there have already been a number of incorrect county and civil parish combinations detected. One suggestion is that the registration county may have been used even though that might not be correct for the civil parish. Ancestry don’t have a great track record with English and Welsh counties so it seems a bit ambitious.

Now why the civil parish? That isn’t how the census was taken. Civil parishes can spread across more than one registration district. Seems like making life hard for yourselves.

So OK we have a county and civil parish but then we go to the sub-registration district (no numbers shown) and the enumeration distict. This makes no sense. They aren’t subsets of the civil parish, they are subsets of the registration district which isn’t shown.

The obvious way to present the census is using the RD, SD, ED hierarchy and then to offer a gazetteer of place names that give the RD, SD, ED numbers.

I don’t want to sound ungrateful, I’m just baffled as to why you’ve made it hard for yourselves.

26 May 2011 at 4:47 pm
colin halkyard 

i have had a look at the 1911 census for the whole area where my relatives lived & could not find them but have been told its possible they were in a local workhouse at this time. how do i search the summery books or census returns for 1911 to find these workhouses & see if my relatives were there. i know that in 1913 their daughter was born in a pontefract workhouse. i have gone through all the records for brotherton & knottingley, yorkshire where they used to live & could not find them. is there a way yet of searching just the workhouses in these areas?
many thanks colin

26 May 2011 at 5:29 pm
Graham Dye 

Out of interest I have taken a look at the 1911 pages for Pyrford, Woking, Surrey in general and did not search for an individual.

I am very surprised to see the huge number of spelling errors both for names, properties and roads which are so bad as to limit useful searching with any success.

Is this the result of scanners creating errors or very sloppy processing by those paid to undertake the task.

In any event it needs looking at as I imagine that it is not just related to the records which I have viewed.

27 May 2011 at 9:00 am
Russell James 

Well done and thank you to those of you who have worked out ‘formulae’ for finding the right page within a district. Hopefully this will make it easier for others, especially if you use them alongside the instructions at http://www.ancestry.co.uk/1911

To answer a couple of questions about mistakes on the census pages, these forms were filled in by heads of households, or on their behalf if they couldn’t write (which was fairly rare by 1911). So, any spelling errors were made by our ancestors themselves.

Regarding Mike’s point about Clarence/Florence, is it possible you’ve been confused by tricky handwriting, either here or on a previous record? I can imagine that Clarence could look similar to Florence when written quickly?

27 May 2011 at 10:05 am
BroMaelor 

Russell,

What about the serious county errors in the 1911 census???

- Bangor is y Coed; Bettisfield; Bronington; Hanmer; Iscoyd; Overton; Penley; Worthenbury were in Flintshire, Wales NOT Shropshire, England

- Chirk; Llansilin; were in Denbighshire, Wales NOT Shropshire, England

- Malpas was in Cheshire, England NOT Shropshire, England

- Llangollen, Denbighshire appears in Merionethshire

- Towyn, Merionethshire appears in Montgomeryshire

and many others ….

I contacted Ancestry UK technical support last year pointing out these errors!!! They have chosen to do nothing about it.
In the cases I’ve outlined, each of Ancestry’s 1911 census page images (the even numbered pages) is preceded by a “Instructions to Enumerator” page (the odd-numbered pages) which contain the name of the county (look under Parliamentary Borough or Division). How did they miss that???

Postings on the Message Boards have also pointed out:

- Aberedw, Bettws Disserth & Cregrina, Boughrood & Llanstephan, Brynqwyn, Clyro, Disserth & Trecoed, Llanbedr Painscastle, Llandilo Graban, Llandrindod Rural, Llandrindod Urban, Llanelwedd, Llanfaredd, Llansaintffraid in Elvel and Rhulen & Llanbadarn y Garreg all belong in Radnorshire and not Breconshire.

- Colva, Ednol Kinnerton Salford & Badland, Evenjobb, Gladestry, Glascwm, Llandegley, Llanfihangel nant Melan, New Radnor, Newchurch & Michaelchurch on Arrow, Old Radnor & Burlingjobb and Trewern Gwithla Harpton & Wolfpit all need to be in Radnorshire, Wales (and not Herefordshire, England!).

- Rhulen, Radnorshire, somehow appears under Cardiganshire!

What about the fictitious counties of “Great Warley”; “Hetton le Hole” and “Withnell” in the drop-down list of English counties???

I hope these will be corrected before the indexes appear because, when searching, we search be county and not by registration district!

27 May 2011 at 4:33 pm
Paul 

Why is the “Infirmity” column in the 1911 census white-ed out ?

27 May 2011 at 11:42 pm
Graham 

It was decided, rightly or wrongly, that the infirmity column could not be made available until January 2012.

Hopefully the masking out was added to the images rather than masked images having been scanned so it can be removed easily.

28 May 2011 at 10:42 am
Bill 

When we started researching our family tree it was micro-fiche only at the local library or public records office with no real idea where to look.

The coming of the home p.c. made it considerably easier to do and the bonus of being at home!

Delighted that the 1911 census has been released, trawling some of the streets took me back to the “micro-fiche days”. On the whole found the research enjoyable and in two sessions found all the households I expected to find, doing it with two ancestors.co.uk open similtaneously, one for the “summary books” and one for the actual census.

Thank you releasing the census at this stage

29 May 2011 at 1:57 pm
mark 

Does anyone know where I can get or there is a list of the registration districts etc for the 1911 census.

Thanks

30 May 2011 at 8:25 am
joyce scott 

Just looked at the 1911 Census and it is great Please keep this version running alongside the normal version (when it is ready) as it is very interesting to follow the history of families living in an area – especially villages. I thought I lived in an old family established village but there are very few of the current inhabitants names appearing in 1911.

30 May 2011 at 2:57 pm
PatBridgwater11 

I have used Sarah’s method for finding the 1911 images from information given in the enumerators summary books and it works really well, so thanks for that, Sarah. However, there are so many transcription errors in the surname indexes that it has proved to be a difficult task but I am submitting corrections where I find them to help others. So far, I have not found any names at all in the Dudley area – is Dudley missing from the enumerators summary books?

30 May 2011 at 11:47 pm
BroMaelor 

Pat. I assume that you are looking for Dudley in Worcestershire? Try looking under Staffordshire, which is where Ancestry have put it!!!

31 May 2011 at 12:10 pm
PatBridgwater11 

Thanks BroMaelor but I was looking in Staffordshire. I did try Worcestershire too, just in case, but no Dudley results in either county.

Pat

31 May 2011 at 4:52 pm
Sarah 

Hi Pat

Glad to hear it has helped you out.

I was trying to find someone in Cumberland and it didn’t work there BUT I subtracted the doubled number and deducted it from the total number of images you have to scroll through and bingo there it was. For others where it hasn’t worked that could be an option to try

Sarah

31 May 2011 at 6:41 pm
Paul 

I agree with Pat, yes there are many transcription errors in the census summary books…more than I would have expected…however I also checked FindMyPast, and they are not much better.

1 June 2011 at 2:35 am
BroMaelor 

Pat. Sorry, I see now that you were looking for Dudley in the Summary Books! I agree, they seem to be missing. It’s the actually census page images that appear under Staffordshire.

1 June 2011 at 11:15 am
PatBridgwater11 

Thank you Sarah, Paul and BroMaelor for your additional comments. I’m sorry if I didn’t make it clear in my earlier post that I thought Dudley was missing from the Census Summary Books, not the scanned census images. I have reported this to Ancestry and hope they will look into it.
Regards, Pat

1 June 2011 at 12:13 pm
Gary 

Why does it appear that there are so many records missing from Wales? 1911 Summary book shows my Grandfather living in the Civil Parish of Aberavon, Yet there are no records that I can find for Aberavon in the actuls census forms? There is no cilvil parish for Aberavon listed at all

2 June 2011 at 4:09 pm
Len 

I do feel that the summary books would have been a lot better if a simple quality check had been run over them before release. They seem to have been taken straight from the transcribers as complete. The errors I have seen would be clear to anybody with basic english. Some are simple keyboard finger interface errors (2 keys hit at the same time for example). Others are clearly poor quality as a family name can change halfway through. If I was paying for the work I would be a lot more critical.

3 June 2011 at 5:00 pm
sandra 

Hi, what happens when your ancestor is not on the summery books, l have started with a brother of my grandfather and browsing in the area that he lives hopeing my grandfather lived nearby but after 3000 families and 4 enm dist still nothing, if anybody sees a Francis Travi please let me know and in the meantime will keep going, Francis Travi was in london at that time as my mother born 2 years later and her 4 brothers before 1911.This name have been transcibed wrong on other census also. thanks.

3 June 2011 at 6:23 pm
GeoffRoberts1949 

Hi, great stuff for the 1911 census – thank you. are all sections scanned at the moment or is the work still ongoing, reason for asking is I am trying to locate a “Mrs Roberts” who in the census books shows she lived at 30 Alfred Street, Bristol, showing as sub reg district of 2 and Enumeration District of 8 .. her household schedule is reportedly 346, however the scanned census records only go up to schedule 209 for ED 8 ? ..

4 June 2011 at 1:21 pm
Len 

Geoff there are errors and some of the districts are miss numbered. There are lots of transcription errors in the index and the madding thing is we can not fix them as only the name can be flaged as wrong.

4 June 2011 at 10:23 pm