The census returns are amongst the most useful sources of
historical information about places and individuals. The first
national census was taken in 1801 Since then it has been repeated
every ten years, except in wartime. As the returns are closed
for a period of 100 years, those currently available for consultation
by the public cover the census years between 1841 - 1901.
1801 - 1831
The census returns are purely numerical in content
and contain no personal information.
first detailed national census was taken on Sunday 6th June,
1841. It lists the name, age, sex and
fairly generalised) of each person in each household. It also
indicates whether a person was born in Staffordshire or not
by the use of a "Y" or "N", but it does
not record the parish of origin. It was usual to apply the "rounding-down" principle
with ages for anyone over the age of 15. The age was rounded
down to the nearest five years.
1851 - 1901
The 1851 census records full names, exact ages, sex, occupation,
trade or profession, family relationships and parish and county
of birth. Addresses such as they were are given, although it
should be remembered that particularly in rural areas there
was little street-numbering and few detailed addresses at this
The subsequent census returns gradually record more information.
By 1891, more detail is recorded concerning employment status
and the size of individual dwelling houses and in 1901 whether
a house is in occupation or is being built. It is also worth
remembering that as the population increased and urban areas
developed during the later 19th century, the census returns
become comparatively bigger and take longer to work through.
WHERE TO FIND THE CENSUS
Staffordshire Record Office holds microfiche copies of the
census returns for 1841 - 1901 for the whole of the historic
county of Stafford. This includes those parts of the Black
Country transferred to the West Midlands county in 1974.
Stoke on Trent City Archives holds microfiche copies for 1841-1901
for North Staffordshire north of but not including Eccleshall,
Stone and Uttoxeter.
Lichfield Record Office/ Library holds microfilm
copies of the census returns for Lichfield City and for the
area of the
former Lichfield Rural District Council for 1841 – 1891
and microfiche copies for 1901.
Burton Family and Local History
Centre holds microfilm copies
of the census returns for 1841 - 1891 and microfiche copies
for 1901 for Burton and surrounding villages.
A number of libraries in Staffordshire hold microfilm/fiche
copies for their immediate area and a list of these holdings
is available from the Staffordshire Record Office.
The 1901 census is online at www.census.pro.gov.uk