[Last updated 12 Oct 2003]

GLAPTHORN-Census Records 1841-1891


WHAT is the CENSUS? There had been earlier counts of the population, but none were made regularly until 1801. Only in 1841 did the government decide it needed more than the numbers of people in the various age groups. Reaction was sharp and unfavourable, on theological grounds from those who believed that 'numbering the people' was blasphemous, and on more practical grounds from a suspicion that the object was to extract more taxes, force a resettlement of poor people or their emigration, or just plain getting to know too much about the private individual. The amount of information to be collected was therefore restricted, and instead of sending strangers from London, local residents were appointed as 'enumerators'. The idea was partly that they would get more cooperation, partly that they would know more of what was required anyway, so false information would be detected at source.

1841 AGES. Ages were intended to be given 'to the nearest multiple of five years below' in the case of adults, and exactly for children up to 15. The worst inaccuracies came in the stated ages. Some enumerators never got the hang of 'multiples of five' and put the exact ages they were given. Others did their best with the system laid down, but were led astray by ages given them incorrectly. Some errors were deliberate, others through lack of knowledge on part of the person or the head of the family of what a man's true age was. If he was 42, the age should have gone down as 40; if he thought he was 39, he was entered as '35' - a sizeable error.

ADDRESSES. Street numbers were rare outside large towns. In villages, in 1841 particularly, there may be no street names at all - just "village or "top end". Just because two households are next to each other in the Enumerator's book, it does not follow that they were immediate neighbours.

1901 CENSUS will become generally available to the public in January 2002

DOUBT When the Transcriber cannot read an entry, or there is doubt in his mind about its deciphering, a '?' symbol is inserted.

DISCLAIMER Please remember that the Enumerator's handwriting in poor condition can be abominable to read. Mistakes and misreading will happen. The Transcriber is only human.

HEADINGS The following headings are used in the main Census listing:
Schedule Reference... The "No. of Schedule" quoted on the far left of the original Census document has been altered to produce a unique reference number for each entry. For example, schedule number 13 has been changed to 713 to indicate the 1871 Census, 713a to indicate Head of the household, 713b the second in the household (usually the wife), and 713c,d,e etc. for children.
Address... Any entry under the heading "Road, Street, &c.,and No. of House" ... This heading is only used in the 1891 Census,
Firstnames... The entry under the heading "Name and Surname "
Surname... The entry under the heading "Name and Surname"
Position... Any entry under the heading "Relation to Head of Family"
Gender... A derived heading from "Age last birthday, Men or Women"
Age... As stated to the Enumerator. Intended to be exact for 1851 onwards, but rounded down to a multiple of five for adults over 15 (see above)
Condition... Married/Single/Widow/Widower.
Occupation... Entry under the heading "Rank, Profession or Occupation"
Born... Entry under the heading "Where born". In 1841 "Whether born in same county" was asked.
When... This entry has been calculated directly from the stated Age and the Census year.
County... County of birth as stated. In 1841 "Whether born in same county" was asked.
Comments... Any other remark not included in above headings.

FREE SEARCH SERVICE The Transcriber keeps all the Censuses in this fiche in a single database on his computer, and offers a free search service to enquirers. It may be possible, for example, to discover a maiden name by a process of elimination, given firstname and approximate age. Enquirers can also be put in touch with other people researching the same surname in Glapthorn. Results can be returned by email or "snailmail". Contact:

John Palmer, 29 Sutherland Avenue, Broadstone, Dorset BH18 9EB, England.