The 1881 Census

Midnight Sun/Mon 4/5th April 1881


Old Herts

How To



Available online at Ancestry, findmypast or The Genealogist and other collaborating web sites - index and enumerator book images. (Usually made available free).

Available online free at familysearch - indexed transcript [also available on CD]

If you can add to the information given above, including additional sources for 1851 census transcripts/indexes, please tell me.

Page updated January 2011


Make the most of the 1881 census CD

Now that the 1881 census is available online the following examples as to how to use the CD are less relevant - but still have some interest so have been retained.

The 1881 census CD is a wonderful source for the genealogist and local historian, but it has a number of limitations, and the following postings are designed to explain the limitations, teach a trick or two, and to show the wide range of activities that can be carried out. Most use the census returns for Tring as an example, but the techniques used are applicable for any place.

Limitations of the 1881 Census on CD

This describes some of the limitations inherent in the original census returns, and those which arise from the limitations of the CD and the viewer originally issued with it. A new viewer - with more powerful search facilities - is now available.

Making your own text data base

It is possible to copy all information for a small town or group of villages to a text file in your word processor and carry out more sophisticated searches. This shows how it can be done.

Where did your ancestors shop?

It is surprising how many people simply look up their ancestor in the index, and fail to look to see shat else is going on in the neighbourhood. This example uses the census to identify the principal businesses in the High Street, Tring.

Who left town and where did they go?

If you are trying to locate brothers and sisters of your ancestors a common problem is that they vanish from the records, and you have no idea where to look. Did they die young? Did the emigrate? Did they move to another part of the United Kingdom. The 1881 census CD makes it possible to find many such wanderers - the example listing people from Tring who were in Devon and Cornwall in the 1881 census.

Local Employers and Occupations

So you know what occupation your ancestor did - but can you get some idea about who his employer might be or who his colleagues were. This series of examples identifies the major employers in Tring, identified some of the common and less usual occupations in the area, and identifies some of the temporary workforce who were apparently involved in rebuilding the church.

Where Railway Employees lived

A study of where the railway workers at Tring Station (in the adjacent parish of Aldbury) lived - and where they came from. The example also identifies railway workers who had been born in Aldbury but who were now working in other parts of the country.

An update on Lucy Luck

I first investigated the life of Lucy Luck, a straw plaiter who was born in Tring before the 1881 census CD was available. The earlier posting left a number of questions unanswered. Using the 1881 census CD her brother George (whose given name was unknown) was located, together with two candidates for her sister Charlotte (whose married name was unknown). Two of the people she lodged with are also identified.

But where is "Doo Little"

One of the problems with the 1881 census is that you cannot search address fields. This example looks at how the location of a Hertfordshire place of birth noted in the London census can be tracked down.

 Locating Census Addresses from Maps

The 1881 Census CD does not contain details of the census enumerator's route - and this series of examples shows how the route can be reconstructed and the location of the house found with the aid of online maps.

Links with China

A search for all people in Hertfordshire who had been born in China suggests that an agricultural labourer may have gone to China as a missionary.

Population Movements in Rural Hertfordshire

An examination of the Parish of Great Gaddesden - showing how many people had been born in the parish or within easy walking distance.

Advanced Searches

The new viewer (3.0) allows all fields, including occupation and address fields, to be searched. Examples of its use are given in:

The Red Lions of Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire Barge Builders
St Albans Prison Staff
Entertainers in Hertfordshire

 Purchasing the CD

Census Home Page

Page updated September 2007