Notes on the 1841 Census of England and Wales
|Census transcripts for Matlock, Matlock
Bath & District
6 June 1841
- This was the first detailed record of every person
living in England and Wales.
Whilst slightly less informative than the later census returns,
the 1841 census is nevertheless an excellent source for both
genealogists and local historians.
- It was written in pencil or with cheap ink so is not
always easy to read.
- Censuses had been held prior to this, in
1801, 1811, 1821 and 1831, but they were very limited as they
were generally just head counts and the original lists may not
have been preserved.
| What it Tells You
Here is an example from the 1841 census for the parish of
Scarthin Nick James Evans 50 Labourer Y
(each entry shows the person's address, name, age and sex, occupation
Although the exact address within the parish was rarely given
in 1841, the enumerators' marks in the next two columns (not shown
in the example above but shown on the census between the address
column and the name) are very important. A single line, like a
forward slash (/), marks the end of a household: a double line
(//) shows the end of a building. In some places, up to 10 different
households can be found in a single building! Please note that,
on the transcripts of the 1841 census for Matlock and Matlock
Bath published on this website, it is only the double marks that
end a building that have been identified and the original film
should be checked to confirm individual households. A building's
inhabitants may be on more that one page.
The census gave the householder's name and the names of his dependants,
although no relationships were given. Servants were shown as F.S.
or M.S. (see Occupation below) but visitors, lodgers or boarders
were not recorded as such. The column heading asked for 'Names
of each person who abode therein the preceding Night'. If the
name of the person was not known, it was recorded as N.K.
- AGE and whether MALE/FEMALE:
Ages were rounded down to the nearest five years for those over
the age of 14 years of age (15 = 15-19; 20 = 20-24 etc). However,
there were exceptions and in some places the enumerator was more
accurate than he was required to be.
Whether someone was male or female was defined by the column their
age was recorded in. As names were mis-spelt, it is advisable
to check this column. One of the most common errors occurred with
the names Francis and Frances, where there are only slight differences
in spelling between the male and female names.
The column heading asked for 'Profession, Trade, Employment, or
of Independent Means'. Enumerators were instructed to use certain
abbreviations, and the following have been found in the Matlock
Ag Lab - Agricultural Labourer (included those styled as husbandman)
Ap - Apprentice
Cl - Clerk
F.S. - Female servant
Ind - Independent (someone with an independent income, so living
on their own means. In later census returns often referred to
as an Annuitant as they were living off an annuity)
Lab - Labourer
J - Journeyman
M or m - Maker (e.g. Shoe Maker)
M.S. - Male servant
Also see: 1841
Census, Parish of Matlock: Distribution of Occupations
The information is very limited, as it does not include the town
or village. 'Y'[es] or 'N'[o] shows whether the person was born
within the county of the particular census place, if it was in
England or Wales. This was usually correct, but like all census
returns relied on both the informant to give accurate information
and the enumerator to record exactly what he had been told. There
is an adjacent column for those born in Ireland or Scotland: 'I'
born in Ireland; 'S' for born in Scotland.
| Understanding The References
Every census between 1841 and 1901 was given a code as a reference.
Both 1841 and 1851 begin with HO 107/ and this is followed by a number
which is the number given to each Registration District and/or a Sub-District.
These were civil divisions and sometimes differ from those of the
parish. The reference for the parish of Matlock in 1841 is: HO 107/198.
This is split up further into book numbers - for example, /5, /6 or
(Note: in 1841 Matlock is given as being in the Hundred of Wirksworth,
which was a civil division).
Researchers using the indexes at the Family Record Centre in London
are guided to specific locations by these book numbers and then the
folio number (see below). However, there are also other sub divisions:
ENUMERATION DISTRICT - normally covered
about 555* people, but in rural areas it was also what an individual
enumerator could cover in one day.
FOLIO NUMBER - stamped on the top right
hand corner of every sheet by the PRO when they received the
returns. So the folio number actually refers to both sides of
the paper, in other words it covers two pages. It is easy to
see when you are going through a census film.
PAGE NUMBER - appears at the top of every
page, in other words on both sides of each folio and was printed,
not stamped, on the page. Depending on the census year it is
sometimes in the centre, and sometimes on the right. There is
a line space in these transcripts to indicate a new page.
There were no other reference numbers in the
1841 census. Schedule numbers did not appear until the 1851 returns.
Also see (external links, so will open in a new page):
Instructions to the Enumerators from the 1841 Census
Vision of Britain through Time is an excellent
website. There is a section on Occupations found in the 1841 census
*Figure taken from :Lumas S. (1992) The Census Returns of England & Wales ISBN
1-872094-50-3 Federation of Family History Societies, Birmingham