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Notes on the 1841 Census of England and Wales
Census transcripts for Matlock, Matlock Bath & District
6 June 1841
1841 Census
ED 13 ED 14 ED 15
ED 16 ED 17 ED 18
ED 19
Surnames A - B
Surnames C - G
Surnames H - L
Surnames M - R
Surnames S
Surnames T - Z
1841 Census Notes
Occupations in 1841

  • This was the first detailed record of every person living in England and Wales.
    Whilst slightly less informative than the later census returns, the 1841 census is nevertheless an excellent source for both genealogists and local historians.

  • It was written in pencil or with cheap ink so is not always easy to read.

  • Censuses had been held prior to this, in 1801, 1811, 1821 and 1831, but they were very limited as they were generally just head counts and the original lists may not have been preserved.

Other Census Years
1851 1861 1871
1881 1891 1901
What it Tells You Understanding the References

What it Tells You

Here is an example from the 1841 census for the parish of Matlock, Derbyshire:

Scarthin Nick James Evans 50 Labourer Y
(each entry shows the person's address, name, age and sex, occupation and 'birthplace')
    Although the exact address within the parish was rarely given in 1841, the enumerators' marks in the next two columns (not shown in the example above but shown on the census between the address column and the name) are very important. A single line, like a forward slash (/), marks the end of a household: a double line (//) shows the end of a building. In some places, up to 10 different households can be found in a single building! Please note that, on the transcripts of the 1841 census for Matlock and Matlock Bath published on this website, it is only the double marks that end a building that have been identified and the original film should be checked to confirm individual households. A building's inhabitants may be on more that one page.
  • NAME:
    The census gave the householder's name and the names of his dependants, although no relationships were given. Servants were shown as F.S. or M.S. (see Occupation below) but visitors, lodgers or boarders were not recorded as such. The column heading asked for 'Names of each person who abode therein the preceding Night'. If the name of the person was not known, it was recorded as N.K.
  • AGE and whether MALE/FEMALE:
    Ages were rounded down to the nearest five years for those over the age of 14 years of age (15 = 15-19; 20 = 20-24 etc). However, there were exceptions and in some places the enumerator was more accurate than he was required to be.
    Whether someone was male or female was defined by the column their age was recorded in. As names were mis-spelt, it is advisable to check this column. One of the most common errors occurred with the names Francis and Frances, where there are only slight differences in spelling between the male and female names.
    The column heading asked for 'Profession, Trade, Employment, or of Independent Means'. Enumerators were instructed to use certain abbreviations, and the following have been found in the Matlock census:

    Ag Lab - Agricultural Labourer (included those styled as husbandman)
    Ap - Apprentice
    Cl - Clerk
    F.S. - Female servant
    Ind - Independent (someone with an independent income, so living on their own means. In later census returns often referred to as an Annuitant as they were living off an annuity)
    Lab - Labourer
    J - Journeyman
    M or m - Maker (e.g. Shoe Maker)
    M.S. - Male servant

    Also see: 1841 Census, Parish of Matlock: Distribution of Occupations

    The information is very limited, as it does not include the town or village. 'Y'[es] or 'N'[o] shows whether the person was born within the county of the particular census place, if it was in England or Wales. This was usually correct, but like all census returns relied on both the informant to give accurate information and the enumerator to record exactly what he had been told. There is an adjacent column for those born in Ireland or Scotland: 'I' born in Ireland; 'S' for born in Scotland.
Understanding The References

Every census between 1841 and 1901 was given a code as a reference. Both 1841 and 1851 begin with HO 107/ and this is followed by a number which is the number given to each Registration District and/or a Sub-District. These were civil divisions and sometimes differ from those of the parish. The reference for the parish of Matlock in 1841 is: HO 107/198. This is split up further into book numbers - for example, /5, /6 or /7.
(Note: in 1841 Matlock is given as being in the Hundred of Wirksworth, which was a civil division).

There are also other sub divisions:
  • ENUMERATION DISTRICT - normally covered about 555* people, but in rural areas it was also what an individual enumerator could cover in one day.

  • FOLIO NUMBER - stamped on the top right hand corner of every sheet by the PRO when they received the returns. So the folio number actually refers to both sides of the paper, in other words it covers two pages. It is easy to see when you are going through a census film.

  • PAGE NUMBER - appears at the top of every page, in other words on both sides of each folio and was printed, not stamped, on the page. Depending on the census year it is sometimes in the centre, and sometimes on the right. There is a line space in these transcripts to indicate a new page.

There were no other reference numbers in the 1841 census. Schedule numbers did not appear until the 1851 returns.

Also see (external links, so will open in a new page):
The Instructions to the Enumerators from the 1841 Census

A Vision of Britain through Time is an excellent website. There is a section on Occupations found in the 1841 census

*Figure taken from : Lumas S. (1992) The Census Returns of England & Wales ISBN 1-872094-50-3 Federation of Family History Societies, Birmingham