1861 UK Census

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This article originally appeared in Finding Answers in British Isles Census Records by Echo King, AG.


In 1861, the census was taken on the night of April 7–8. The questions on the census were addressed to all people residing in the house that night, plus night workers who would return in the morning.


The form used in 1861 called for the following:

  • order of enumeration
  • name of street, place, or road and name or number of house
  • number of inhabited houses
  • number of houses uninhabited
  • number of houses being built
  • name of all persons who slept in the home census night
  • relationship to head of family
  • marital condition (M, U, or W)
  • age in years
  • sex
  • occupation
  • where born (parish and county in Great Britain, country only if abroad)
  • whether blind or deaf-and-dumb

The Scotland census asked an additional question about the number of rooms with one or more windows.

Tips and Facts about the 1861 Census

The TNA record group for the 1861 census of England, Wales, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands is RG 9. The census in 1861 was the first to provide separate forms for the Royal Navy and other individuals aboard ships. The number of individuals required for an institution to be counted separately was reduced to one hundred.

The microfilm copy at the Family History Library is on 16mm, and the smaller size can make it difficult to read. In addition, it was filmed backwards, which can be confusing.

The CEBs are made up of six preliminary pages and the nominal pages. Each page has twenty-five lines for name. Original paper forms are approximately 9" h x 14" w.

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