Thursday, 19 February 2009

An overlooked 19th century UK census

In the UK any genealogist beyond the beginner stage knows that censuses started to be taken in 1801, were taken every ten years with that of 1841 being the first with nationwide nominal information available. In Canada the decennial census starting in 1871, and since 1851 in the prior colonies. Quinquennial censuses for 1906 and 1916 are available for the rapidly developing Prairies provinces.

Much less well know is that a quinquennial censuses was taken in London, England, in 1896. It was for much the same reason as those for the Prairies -- rapid growth.

The census aimed to record all people alive at midnight on Sunday March 29 - Monday March 30. It included name, relationship to the head of family and sex.

First results were reported in The Times of Thursday, May 28, 1896. The population of "registration London" or "the administrative county of London" was 4,411,271. It turned out that this additional census information showed the mid-1896 population was actually less than estimated based on extrapolation of the 1881 and 1891 censuses, not the result expected.

The count was an underestimate of the normal population. Some people in Soho were said to have walked the street at night rather than be enumerated. Also missing were the Queen and some members of the royal family who were on vacation in France. They were recorded in the French census taken at the same time.

You can read the census statistics by London parish starting here. Unfortunately, and undoubtedly why it's overlooked, the nominal records appear not to have survived.

1 comment:

Familytreeservice said...

exellent blog. this is the sort of thing often overlooked by amatuer researchers and sometimes more gifted genealogists too. it can be a great guide, although not as useful as national census' of course.