The UK 1871 Census

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Anatomy of the Census Page

The front of each census enumeration book contains a standard section explaining how to complete the records. More useful is the page describing the streets and places recorded in that book, as they often provide clues to the route the enumerator took, often helping you locate a property. Large streets may fill several books which may not be contiguous, and the routes often detour up side streets and alleys. The books also contain a chart which the enumerator filled in with the figures he totalled at the bottom of each enumeration page. These statistics are the ones which could be easily collated for early release to government.

Every page holds the details of up to 25 individuals divided over a number of full or partial households. Entries do not always include full addresses, so knowing a specific address for your ancestors doesn't always help. The page header contains information about the general location and includes area information on the district, ward or township, the enumerator filled out whatever information was appropriate. An odd page may be missing or torn, but generally TheGenealogist has complete records for all places.

How the Page is Numbered:

Always record the full reference to an entry, even if you make copies for your files, so that it can be found again by anyone consulting your research. The full reference consists of four sections, a Class number, Piece number, Folio number and page number. For example: RG13 / 51 / 122 / 21.

RG13: Class number - The National Archives class reference number, here indicating the year 1901. It appears with the Piece number on a label on every image.

51: Piece number - The enumeration books are bound into volumes containing up to 200 sheets for archiving. The bound volume is referred to as a Census Piece and given a unique number. Each book page holds details of up to 25 individuals and a single enumeration book contains 20- 40 sheets.

122: Folio number - As each book making up a Piece has identical pre-printed page numbers and there can be many books bound in a complete Piece, page numbers reoccur. To uniquely identify every sheet making up a Piece, it is stamped with another number in the top right hand corner, next to the page number.

21: Page number - As the Piece and folio numbers are unique, it is not really necessary to record the page number. The combination of the Piece and Folio numbers provide reference to a single sheet containing no more than 50 people, so the page number only narrows it down to one side of that sheet, or 25 people.

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