Recording UK Census data

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This guide explains how to record all of the information about a household on one Census return. In GRAMPS 1.0.X this was a time consuming activity that involved repeatedly retyping much of the information for each person on the Census return. Using the extra drag & drop capabilities in GRAMPS 2.X and the Scratch Pad tool this repetition has been greatly reduced.

For genealogists with UK ancestors the UK Census returns are a very important source of information. Census' have been conducted every 10 years in the UK since 1841 (details of all the UK Census dates and how to access the records can be found at [1]). The 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901 Census returns are available online at [2] for a subscription.

Census returns are organised by location and each return shows a list of households living in a particular street. This means that once you find a return showing one of your ancestors it will also show the rest their family members living in the same house.

Information contained in a Census return

The Census return for John Martin in 1881.

Each of the UK Census’ recorded slightly different information (full details of the information recorded on each Census can be found at [3]). For this guide I will use an example taken from the 1881 Census that shows the family of my ancestor John Martin.

This Census page records the following information about where the census was taken and where the page is located within the Census record:

  • Piece number RG 11/2854
  • Folio 17
  • Page 27
  • Civil Parish [or Township]: Wednesbury
  • City or Municipal Borough: Not specified
  • Municipal Ward: Not specified
  • Parliamentary Borough: Wednesbury
  • Town, Village or Hamlet: Not specified
  • Urban Sanitary District: Wednesbury
  • Rural Sanitary District: Not specified
  • Ecclesiastical Parish or District: St. Bartholemew

Then each member of the household is listed, with information about them recorded in the following columns:

  • Column 1 - No. of schedule, numbered from 1 consecutively per book
  • Column 2 - Name of street, place or road, and name or number of house
  • Column 3 - Houses; separate columns for inhabited and uninhabited or

being built (entered as 'U' or 'B')

  • Column 4 - Name and surname
  • Column 5 - Relationship to head of family
  • Column 6 - Condition; marital status
  • Column 7 - Age last birthday; separate columns for males and females
  • Column 8 - Rank, profession or occupation
  • Column 9 - Where born; county/place
  • Column 10 - Whether
    • 1 - Deaf & dumb,
    • 2 - Blind,
    • 3 - Imbecile or idiot,
    • 4 - Lunatic

To enter this information into GRAMPS we will need to record all of the information on the census for each member of the household. This is done my creating a Person record for each person in turn.