1901 Census Online

Margaret Brennand of the Public Record Office on the launch of a major online resource for local and family historians.

From January 2nd, 2002, for the first time, researchers will be able to access the entire 1901 census returns for England and Wales online. The census returns are undoubtedly the Public Record Office’s most popular historical records, being a key source for those researching their family trees, local areas or the history of a house. They also provide the raw data for local, social and economic historians. These key records will be available over the Internet on the PRO site.

Until now, those who wanted to look at census returns for the nineteenth century have had two options. The first was to visit the local record office or library, which usually houses the returns for the locality. The second was to travel to the Family Records Centre in London which houses the census returns for England and Wales from 1841 to 1891. However, many have found these options impracticable and, as the National Archive for England and Wales, the PRO has a key aim to make its services more widely available.

The 1901 census for England and Wales was taken on March 31st, 1901. The population at the time was over 32 million and some 32 million entries will now be available online. Never before will it have been so easy to learn of those who lived in Edwardian times; to understand their work; to trace the homes they lived in and to speculate on the lives they led.

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