Census, Land & Surveys

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Information about Census, Land & Surveys

The census, taken once every ten years, provides a snapshot of your ancestors’ daily life. It’s a great way to find out where they lived, with whom, and what they did for a living. Working through the censuses you can track an ancestor's journey through life: discover when they moved house, started a new job, or got married. Your ancestors’ households will often reveal the names of their siblings, whose details would be difficult to trace using the birth indexes alone.

Your ancestor may not be at the address you’d expect to find them - as the census covers a single day, they may have been visiting friends or family when the enumerator called or been working away from home. There may be other errors in census records too; illiteracy was common, and the enumerator may not have taken down details correctly.

When searching census records, less is more: the more information you enter for your search, the greater the possibility of error. Keep your search simple at first and only add more information to narrow down your results. Once you find a relative you may find siblings that you weren’t aware of, and this will give you more lines to investigate and add to your tree.

The most recent census available is the 1911 census, as because of the personal nature of census information they are subject to a 100-year secrecy rule.