The England & Wales 1911 Census is the most anticipated and important addition to our records in recent years. If you're new to family history, it's the perfect place to get started. And if you've already made plenty of discoveries, it provides some fascinating information not found in any previous census records.
Searching the 1911 Census is straightforward. Simply type in a name, add any other information you can, and click Search. Because it's such a huge collection, with over 35 million records, you'll receive a lot of results for most names. It really helps if you can give your best guess of when your ancestor was born, and where they might have lived.
You may well have grandparents or even parents who were alive in 1911. It's likely that you have more clues to go on with these close relatives, so try searching for them first. When you find them, you'll also discover all the other family members they were living with. Assuming they were children, that means their parents and siblings.
You can then go back in time and search for these older relatives in our earlier census records. Find them as children, note down their parents, and go back another generation. In this way, you can often quickly and easily discover dozens of new ancestors.
It's even easier if you build your family tree on our site. You just need to start with two or three generations, and we'll start searching for your relatives - in the 1911 Census and our millions of other records. When we find them, we'll let you know by giving you Hints, shown by green leaves next to the names in your tree.
When you find your ancestors in the 1911 Census, make sure you view the original record images. This Census is unlike any of our other records, and provides some key information you won't find anywhere else.
All the important details from previous censuses are still there. You'll discover everybody in each household, listed with their ages, birthplaces, occupations and, crucially, their relationships to each-other.
However, the key difference is that you won't see other households on the same page. This is the first online census where you're given the individual forms filled in by each family, rather than the enumerators' notes that bring them all together. That means you can read your ancestors' original handwriting, and even see their signatures.
More than that, you’ll often find extra notes that reveal different aspects of their personalities. For example, several people added summaries of their previous jobs, while one householder who objected to all the questions wrote: “Would you like to know what our income is and what we had for breakfast?”
You’ll also find extra information not provided in earlier censuses. This is often known as the fertility census, because it tells you how long women had been married, and the number of children born to that marriage – both alive and dead. If you’ve found any birth certificates for family members you’ve been unable to track down, look to see if the children died young.
Plus, you can see the industries your forebears worked in, alongside their standard job titles. This can be fascinating information, as many people changed trade in the aftermath of the Industrial Revolution.
To help you pick out every detail, we've created a unique record viewer, especially for the 1911 Census. This brings your ancestors' entries to life like never before. Find out more