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Help and advice for Census

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Devon - Census

The census in the UK is taken every 10 years, the first being in 1801, but national census records containing information of interest to family historians are available only for 1841 to 1911. The (unindexed) original records can be seen on either microfilm or microfiche at the National Archives in London, and at LDS Family History Centres world-wide. Adding to GENUKI's extensive general information about the census, the situation for Devon in particular is as follows:

  • 1841 - Scanned images available on CD-ROM from Archive CD, and online with a name index - for a fee - from Ancestry and FindMyPast. A FreeCEN project to produce a free online indexed transcription is underway.
  • 1851 - Fully-indexed transcription available on CD-ROM from the LDS, and for a fee from Ancestry and FindMyPast.
  • 1861 - Scanned images available on CD-ROM from Archive CD, the subject of a completed joint DFHS/FreeCen project transcription project.
  • 1871 - Scanned images available on CD-ROM from Archive CD and - with a name index - online for a fee from Ancestry and FindMyPast.
  • 1881 - Fully indexed transcription available on CD-ROM from the LDS, and online for free at https://www.familysearch.org/.
  • 1891 - A FreeCen project to produce a free online indexed transcription is now complete - see FreeCEN-Devon 1891.
  • 1901 - Scanned images available online for a fee, and a detailed index for free, at Find My Past, and for a fee from Ancestry.
  • 1911 - Scanned images available online for a fee, and a detailed index for free, at Ancestry and FindMyPast.

Pre-1841 census records exist for a small number of Devon parishes - the Devon Pre-1841 Census and Population Listing Transcription Project has been set up with the aim of locating and transcribing all such records.

The 1801 Census of Devon, plus some information from 1811, 1815, 1821 and 1831 - an article by David J. Knapman.

The 1831 Census of Devon - an article by David J. Knapman.

Arthur French has provided a very useful article about the problems of Searching the 1851 Devon Census.

Summary article on Devon from ONS, leading to their Devon Area Monitor (PDF): "Two hundred years of the Census in Devon".

There is an index to the 1861 Census for North Devon at the Barnstaple Record Office.

GBHGIS - A Vision of Britain Through Time: Devon - an impressive collection of statistical and descriptive information, gathered from the all the censuses from 1801-2001.

Ed Essery's listing of Parishes in North Devon Surname Indices to 1861, 1871 & 1891 Censuses.

Many of the 1881 Census entries for ships in port in Plymouth, Dartmouth, Appledore, Northam, Barnstaple & Ilfracombe are given in a searchable database of seaman provided by Bob Sanders.

Leadbetter, Lorna. Devan Orphans in Essex, Devon Family Historian, vol. 123, (2007) pp.25-27. [Includes listings of Devon orphans at the Merchant Seamen's Orphans Asylum in Snaresbrook from the 1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901 census.]
Snetzler, Marjorie F. (Ed.). 1891 Census Surname Index: North Devon (1992). [Devon FHS Library 929.34235]
Snetzler, Marjorie F. (Ed.). 1861 Census Surname Index: North Devon (1995). [Devon FHS Library 929.34235]
Snetzler, Marjorie F., (Ed.). 1871 Census Surname Index: North Devon (1997). [Devon FHS Library 929.34235]
Susser, Bernard. Jews (Identified & Supposed) in the 1841-1891 censuses: Exeter (1841-1861), Falmouth (1851), Penzance (1851), Plymouth (1841-1891), Torquay (1851). Stroud (1881, 1891) transcribed by Harold Pollins, Studies in Anglo-Jewish History, vol. 1, (1996). [Contents now incorporated into the JewishGEN UK Database]
Wickes, Michael J.L. (Ed.). Devon in the Religious Census of 1851, M.J.L. Wickes (1990) 157 pp. [Devon FHS Library 274.235]
Devon Strays Extracted from the 1851 Census of Glamorgan (1995). [Devon FHS Library p929.34297]

National Statistics provides sumary information about Devon 1801-1901 in its Area Monitor Devon.