UK Census records are recorded every 10 years and are restricted for 100 years by law. The records started in 1841 as a trial National Census for the UK. Records are available to search for the following years;
1841 - HO107
1851 - HO107
1861 - RG9
1871 - RG10
1881 - RG11
1891 - RG12
1901 - RG13
1911 - RG14
1921 - RG15 will be released in 2021
The records are referenced by Census Piece, Folio, Page and Schedule.
The registration district is a unit of organization for collecting the census information. Information is collected in geographical areas that are manageable sizes for a team of enumerators to record. They are often a section of a county, but may often cross county borders.
e.g. RG14 / 22440 is the district around Bootle, Liverpool in 1911
The number following the year code is referred to as the Piece Number which is a collection of enumerators books for the whole district.
Each census book sheet is referred to as a folio. This usually contains a group of records for a street or a village / hamlet in the district. In some cases it may be part of a street. This is in effect two pages of the enumerators book.
The folio number usually appears as a printed add on at the start of each pair of pages.
This is exactly what it says - a single page in an enumerators book.
The schedule is a measure of a single household. This is usually held on a single page, but in some instances a schedule may go over two or more pages.
The schedule numbers in early census years are listed at the side of each household unit. In censuses from 1901, most schedules are on a single page of a book. Schedules are only carried over for very large households and institutions. In modern Census collections, which have not yet been released, the schedule is a whole book which may have an extension book for institutions.
Note of caution - the information recorded
in the census records is essentially what people told the enumerators.
Accurate information and mis-information go side by side. Census records
are a very good guide, but inaccuracies can arise from how an enumerator phrases
a question to how a householder is prepared to answer that question. If
people were unable to write or read, then the enumerator would have to
transcribe there spoken work as best they could.
| Where were you born?
Where do you come from?
Where were you brought up?
Where did your parents live?
Linacre near Bootle
Kirkdale on Merseyside
Records start with the head of the household. This title will only be omitted if the head is absent from the home on the day of enumeration. All other entries will be recorded in respect of their relationship to the head of the household or institution.
In the early censuses - 1841 / 1851 / 1861 - the age of individuals of 20 years and above were recorded to the nearest 10 years or the nearest 5 years. In some cases, people may not want their age to be clearly known, or may not have been sure of their exact age.
The census records where an individual was born. Place names may have changed over the years and people my give the exact location or a more understandable and more easily identified nearby major town or city.
Other sources like Births, marriages or deaths, electoral rolls, etc. should be used to confirm Census information wherever possible.