1881 UK Census

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This article originally appeared in Finding Answers in British Isles Census Records by Echo King, AG.


The census of 1881 was taken on the night of April 3–4. The questions on the census were addressed to all people residing in the house that night, plus night workers who would return in the morning.


The form used in 1881 called for the following:

  • order of enumeration
  • name of street, place, or road and name or number of house
  • number of inhabited houses
  • number of houses uninhabited
  • number of houses being built
  • name of all persons who slept in the home census night
  • relationship to head of family
  • marital condition (M, U, or W)
  • age in years
  • sex
  • occupation
  • where born (parish and county in Great Britain, country only if abroad)
  • whether deaf-and-dumb, blind, imbecile or idiot, or lunatic

The Scotland census asked an additional question about the number of rooms with one or more windows.

Tips and Facts about the 1881 Census

The TNA record group for the 1881 census of England, Wales, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands is RG 11. Separate forms were provided for institutions, ships, and the Royal Navy.

The CEBs are made up of six preliminary pages and the nominal pages. Each page has twenty-five lines for names. Original paper forms are approximately 9" h x 15" w.

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