Early British Census project provides free searchable database

A bit of buzz came out of the National Genealogical Society’s conference last week about the Early British Census project that is a free resource to bring the “numerous disparate pre-1841 census records into one searchable database.”

The Early British Census project at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah is designed to help family historians discover their ancestors, offer training for students, and provide data for scholarly research, particularly for local and population studies.

Example of a search result for Joseph Jones in St. Margaret, Middlesex, England in the 1821 census.
Source: Early British Census project, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

The first stage of the project is to extract data from and, where possible, gather digital images of the 1801-1831 English censuses. Later stages will capture records from other parts of the British Isles as well as earlier periods.

There are more than 1,400 surviving household or individual schedules from the 1801, 1811, 1821, and 1831 censuses.

The database currently covers large portions of Kent and greater London, as well as Middlesex, Surrey, Cheshire, Essex, Bedfordshire, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire, Yorkshire, Shropshire, and Warwickshire. Counties to be added in 2020-21 are Cornwall, Dorset, Devon, and Somerset. It includes almost 50,000 households and more than 56,000 individuals.

Most returns list only the head of household, but some contain more details about names, ages, marital status, residence, and occupation.

Because the household and individual schedules were never submitted to a central government entity, the original returns remain in dozens of local archives across the UK.

When the database is complete, it will likely contain information about approximately 500,000 households.

This entry was posted in England and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.