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1911 Census records go online

The records of 36m people recorded in the 1911 census are to be put online three years ahead of schedule, giving the public a snap shot of life in Britain in the years just before the Great War. The census covered England, Wales, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, as well as those serving aboard Royal Naval and Merchant vessels at sea and in foreign ports and, for the first time in a British census, full details of British Army personnel and their families in military bases overseas. It is the most detailed census since UK records began and the first for which the original census schedules have been preserved -- complete with our ancestors' own handwriting -- providing an insight into British society nearly a century ago. From today over 27m census entries, 80% of the English records, will be available. A further 9m records will be made available over the coming months. The website includes transcribed text versions of the records to ensure they are fully searchable by name or address. The records were not due to be released until 2012, but demand from family historians has led to an early release. "The only information being held back is in line with data protection legislation and relates to infirmity and to children of women prisoners. This will be released in 2012. The website has been developed by UK-based family history website, owned by Brightsolid, in association with The National Archives. Elaine Collins, commercial director at, said: "The 1911 census offers a crucial new entry point to family history research for a wide range of people, from novice family historians to seasoned genealogists who have hit a 'wall' in their family tree research. "As well as helping people trace their ancestors, these records shed more light on our ancestors' day-to-day lifestyles, providing a snapshot of a day in their lives, with details of their occupations, housing arrangements and social status." The 1911 census occupies over two kilometres of shelving and contains 8m paper census returns, which have been transcribed to create over 16m digital images. Oliver Morley, director of customer and business development at The National Archives, said: "This remarkable record is available online to researchers and family historians all over the world for future generations. "The 1911 census is a poignant reflection of how different life was in early 20th century Britain, before the Great War." Due to the widespread popularity of family history, it is anticipated that will experience a high level of visitors logging on to search the records, especially in the first weeks of launch. How to use the 1911 Census records
  • Log on to and register for free.
  • Search for an ancestor in 1911 by entering their name.
  • If the name is common you can enter their approximate year of birth, which will help to narrow down the results.
  • Search for an address to look up the history of your house or an ancestor's address in 1911 (this function will be available in summer 2009).
  • Pay as you go to view each record. You will be charged 10 credits per transcript and 30 credits for each original household page. Visitors to the website can buy 60 credits for £6.95.
  • vouchers will also be valid on Vouchers can be purchased from The National Archives bookshop and redeemed on Credits can then be spent on both and
  • For more information about using the 1911 census for family history research, 'Census: The Expert Guide' by Peter Christian and David Annal is available from The National Archives online bookshop at

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