The 1861 Census

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The 1861 Census

The 1861 Census was taken on the night of Sunday 7th April 1861.

Basic facts about the 1861 census

Taken on the night of Sunday/Monday 7th/8th April 1861.

Details recorded for each person were:

  • Name and surname
  • Relationship to head of family
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Marital status
  • Occupation
  • Place of birth
  • Whether they were blind, or deaf and dumb

The following information was recorded in the schedules about each dwelling and person residing there on the night of the census:

  • the address
  • whether the dwelling was "inhabited" or "uninhabited or building"
  • name and surname of each person residing at the dwelling on the night of the census
  • relationship of each person to the head of the family
  • each person's marital status ("condition")
  • age and sex
  • rank, profession, or occupation
  • where born, parish and county (or if born outside of England or Wales, just the country)
  • whether they were "blind", or "deaf and dumb"

The information collected in this census was the same as 10 years before except for an extra piece of information on whether the house was inhabited or not (this had been included in the 1841 census but not in 1851).

Accessing the 1861 Census

Ancestry have a complete index of the 1861 Census for England, Wales, Scotland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. To access the Ancestry records you need to take out a subscription but a 14 day free trial is usually available.

Findmypast also has a complete transcription of the 1861 census for England, Wales, Scotland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, accessed either via an annual subscription or on a pay-per-view basis or currently you can take advantage of a 14 day free trial.

The Genealogist site has transcripts for all of England and Wales. They can either be viewed by taking out a subscription or as pay-per-view.

Free access to the 1861 Census

As with all the censuses from 1841 to 1901, many local record offices have reels or fiches for their areas.

FreeCEN have good coverage for some counties, particularly in Scotland and also 100% coverage of Cornwall, Devon, Co. Durham, Flintshire, Hampshire, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Rutland, Somerset, Sussex and Westmoreland plus good coverage of the Channel Islands, Denbighshire, and Yorkshire. As the name says, this site is free.

You can also access the Ancestry 1861 census records for free on site at The National Archives in Kew. Many libraries also have Ancestry and/or findmypast available for free from within the library.

We always welcome any comments, suggestions or corrections - you can contact us at the feedback email address on the left