Thursday, April 20, 2006 - 1841 CENSUS

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The date of the 1841 census was the night of 6 June 1841.

The 1841 Census was the fifth decennial census of the population of Britain, but the first useful census to family historians, in that names of individuals within households were recorded, along with ages, occupations and places of birth.

The gathering of census information in Scotland in 1841 took place under the jurisdiction of the Home Office, assisted by the Sheriff Substitute of each Scottish county. (All subsequent censuses have been conducted by the office of the Registrar General for Scotland, established under the 1854 Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages (Scotland) Act).

To reduce the risk of double entries or omissions, the whole exercise had to be completed in a single day.
To this end, Scotland was divided into enumeration districts, based largely on the existing parishes. Larger or more populous parishes were sub-divided to enable the enumerator to gather all his information within the day.

Census enumerators were usually schoolmasters, who were deemed best equipped for the task. They were each assigned an enumeration district and distributed a schedule to every household in that district before census night. They collected the completed schedules the following day, checked the details and copied them into an enumerator's book.

These were checked by the Sheriff Substitute and then despatched to the Registrar General’s office in London.
The census information that we see derives from these enumerators' transcript books, not the original schedules, which were destroyed.

Except in 1911 where Hollerith punch cards and machines were used for the statistics and the original schedules have been kept. (closed until 2012)