Country Matters

Dennis Mills examines the importance of census enumerators' books.

St Peter's Church, Folkington, East Sussex
St Peter's Church, Folkington, East Sussex. Wiki Commons/AndyScott.

Folk history in a more literal sense than usual is available for the whole country if we care to study what our Victorian ancestors wrote on their census schedules. Mountains of reasonably reliable personal data can be found in the census enumerators' books (CEBs), into which the household schedules were copied. Most county libraries and/or record offices have microfilm sets of CEBs for their own counties for every tenth year from 1841 to 1881, but not later in England and Wales because of the confidentiality rules (in theory we are all dead after 100 years). In Scotland they are available from 1841 to 1891, but in Ireland only for 1911, with a few exceptions.

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