The guide to researching your family history.

Catherine Meades BSc DipGen QG
Visit: Cameo Family History

A series to lead you through the process of discovering your family’s story in simple steps, with some tips and tricks to help you through, round or over brick walls.

Part 3 – Census (Click here for Part 2)

The first UK census was taken in 1801, but the first which contained the names of individual people was that of 1841. The censuses which are currently available to family historians are those taken every ten years for 1841-1911.

The amount of information recorded in the censuses varied. In 1841 it was limited to name, age (within a 5-year band), occupation and whether born in the county of residence. Family relationships were not included. In the censuses of 1851-1901 family relationships were specified, as were “exact” ages and places of birth.

The 1911 census also included the number of years a couple had been married and how many children they had had. It is worth noting that the information in the census returns is what was told to the enumerator or written on the form and so is prone to errors, whether accidental or deliberate.

Websites for accessing the census records:
• – ££ – Free access available at Consett Library
• – ££
• – ££
• – Free – Check the coverage of an area of interest as not complete
• – Free

Note that images of the census forms are only available on the subscription sites. For previous steps and additional information on how to search these census records see the Cameo Family History website:

Next month: The 1939 Register

Tel: 07855 556 384
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Catherine Meades
My name is Catherine Anne Meades and Cameo Family History is the result of my love of telling the stories of ordinary people from the past. I have a degree in Chemistry and a career of over 35 years in the chemical information and chemical regulations sectors. I have been involved with online data searching since its earliest, pre-internet, days and I have massive experience in research across a range of subjects which I am now bringing to the field of genealogy. Following attending a five-week family history course at my local library in 2008, I discovered a passion for the subject and the process of finding out about people in the past which grows as I learn more about the subject and which led me to found Cameo Family History. I also have experience in presenting and training and, as my friends and family will testify, I love nothing more that talking about family history research and the discoveries I have made. Believing that proper training is the basis of professionalism, I have completed the Correspondence Course in Genealogy of the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies and have achieved the Higher Certificate in Genealogy. I am an Associate of AGRA, the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives. ( ) I am a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG, )


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