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Census Returns

Free Searches

Since 1999, FreeCen (from the same stable as FreeBMD and FreeREG) has been indexing UK census returns from 1841 to 1891. Coverage varies enormously, but some counties now have 100% coverage for one or more census years. Click here to see current FreeCEN coverage.

The National Archives of Ireland has now put online an almost complete set of census returns for all thirty two Irish counties for both 1901 and 1911. It is FREE to search and FREE to download images.

Chargeable Searches

Several sites have England and Wales census returns for 1841 to 1911 available either by subscription or on a PPV basis. Many allow free index searches , but this does not generally give access to household transcripts or images of census returns.

1921 Census

The digitisation of the 1921 Census was completed in January 2022 when it was published by FindMyPast. It includes more information than the 1911 census e.g. name of employer and workplace.

Transcriptions can be downloaded at a cost of £2.50 per household with a further charge of £3.50 to download the original census image. A discount of 10% is available to FindMyPast Pro subscribers. This will be a major event and is likely to be the last census release before 2052 as the 1931 Census returns were destroyed by enemy action in WW2 and there was no census taken in 1941.

1939 Register

The 1939 Register provides the most complete survey of the population of England and Wales between 1921 and 1951. It was taken on 29 September 1939 just after the outbreak of WW2 and was used for the issuing of Identity Cards when rationing began in 1940. From 1948, the register was used as the NHS Register and was kept updated until 1991.

For full details, see The National Archives 1939 Register page. The 1939 Register is an online resource available from FindMyPast, My Heritage and Ancestry.

Page last modified: 9 February 2022