The 1871 Census

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The 1871 Census

The 1871 Census was taken on the night of Sunday 2nd April 1871.

Basic facts about the 1871 census

Taken on the night of Sunday/Monday 2nd/3rd April 1871.

Details recorded for each person were:

  • Name and surname
  • Relationship to head of family
  • Marital status
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Occupation
  • Place of birth
  • Whether infirm

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" or "imbecile or idiot" or "lunatic"

The information collected was the same as in 1861 apart from the column recording whether someone was "Blind" or "Deaf and Dumb" where two extra options were given, "Imbecile or Idiot" or "Lunatic".

Accessing the 1871 Census

Ancestry have a complete index of the 1871 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 1871 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 1871 Census

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

FreeCEN has 100% coverage of Cornwall, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Herefordshire, Norfolk, Sussex and Westmoreland plus good coverage for more counties notably Durham, Wiltshire and Yorkshire. As the name says, this site is free. Scottish counties with 100% coverage include Argyllshire, Bute, Caithness, Kinrossshire, Peebleshire and Selkirkshire.

You can also access the Ancestry 1871 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