Searching The 1921 Census Online
Yesterday, family historians had access to the eagerly awaited 1921 census online. It is 100 years since the census was taken, and has taken three years to carefully transcribe and digitalise. The census, which covers England and Wales, was taken on the 19th June 1921, having been delayed for two months due to industrial unrest. It includes the details of 38 million people from over 8.5 million households as well as public and private institutions. This census not only asked individuals about their age, birthplace, occupation and residence (including the names of other household members and the number of rooms), but for the first time their place of work, employer details, and 'divorced' as an option for marital status. Searches can be done by individual name or by address. I searched my house and it felt so exciting to see the names of all the family who lived there. Did they plant the old cherry tree at the end of our garden we enjoy every year and was it Bessie who lost the old silver necklace I dug up in the garden? It somehow gives us a connection with the past.
At the time the country was still recovering from the First World War and at the tail end of the Spanish flu pandemic. Owing to the vast number of men who fell in the war, the Census reveals there were 1,096 women for every 1,000 men recorded, with this discrepancy being the biggest for those aged between 20 and 45. This means there were over 1.7 million more women than men in England and Wales, the largest difference ever seen in a census.
There was a 35% increase in the number of people recorded in hospitals from the 1911 Census, three-quarters of whom were men. Presumably many were still suffering from wounds received in the war. Thanks to the additional information recorded on the status of parents and children, the Census also reveals the devastating impact the war had on families with over 730,000 fatherless children being recorded versus 261,000 without a mother. The 1921 census is a fascinating moment in history and as the 1931 census was destroyed by a fire and the 1941 census was not recorded because of the Second World War, this is the last census that will be released until 2052. It is well worth searching to see what you can find out.
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