Census

A National census has been taken every ten years since 1801 with the exception of 1941. The 1841 census was the first to list the names of every individual.

From 1841 to 1901 a census schedule was completed for each household, and was then collected by the enumerator who copied the information into an enumeration book. It is these enumeration books that we consult today online and on microfilm. You can search for an individual household, a name or an institution such as Ruthin Gaol or Wrexham Workhouse.

The census was taken on the following dates-

  • 1841- 6th June
  • 1851- 30th March
  • 1861- 7th April
  • 1871- 2nd April
  • 1881- 3rd April
  • 1891- 5th April
  • 1901- 31st March
  • 1911- 2nd April

The information provided in the census changed, becoming more detailed over time. The 1841 census will only tell you the address, name, age (rounded down to the nearest 5 for those 15 and over), sex, occupation, whether the individual was born in the county (Y/N) or Scotland, Ireland or Foreign Parts.

The 1851-1901 censuses include more information such as relationship to the head of the household, marital status, more accurate age and address, occupation, county and parish of birth, language spoken (from 1891 in Wales) and whether they suffered from certain medical disabilities.

As well as information provided in the previous censuses, 1911 includes the number of children born of a marriage (living and deceased), detailed occupations and extra detail on nationality.

A number of Denbighshire parishes are missing from the census. If you can’t find someone in the census, use The National Archives guide to find reasons why information can be missed or altered.

What records can I find at Denbighshire Archives?

Denbighshire Archives does not hold any original census records.

We hold microfilm copies of the census for Denbighshire between 1841 and 1901. The 1911 census is only available at the office online.

Census records have now been scanned added to subscription websites such as findmypast.co.uk and ancestry.co.uk. You can access these sites for free in the searchroom.

What language were the records written?

Most census returns were written in English and completed by the enumerator, however in 1911 the census forms were completed by the householder for the first time which meant that some returns were completed in Welsh using a Welsh language form.

How can I access these records?

Census returns are available on ancestry.co.uk and findmypast.co.uk. You can access these sites for free in the searchroom by booking a PC. We do not have a subscription to the 1939 register.

If you want to view census returns on microfilm, you will need to book a microfilm reader. We do not hold original census records.

What records can I find in other archives and organisations?

The National Archives, Kew

The original census records between 1841 and 1911 are held at The National Archives.

Office of National Statistics

The 1921 census, and all later censuses which survive are kept by the Office for National Statistics. These censuses will only be available 100 years after the date they were conducted.