A Population Act of 1800 initiated the holding of a ten-year Census. A Census has been taken in England and Wales every ten years since the Act was passed, but in most cases, these early documents have not survived. We are fortunate to be able to access this early information for Deal. Sadly, the early Census for Walmer appear to be lost or destroyed.
The Kent Archives (Kent History and Library Centre) hold some census returns for 1801-1831. These are mainly in parish records and are on the whole just head counts. Some, do contain personal names though.
The amount of information on these records varies, but they usually include some of the following information.
- Number of inhabited houses
- Occupied by how many families
- Number of uninhabited houses
- How many were employed in agriculture
- How many were employed in trade, manufacturing, handicraft
- Other employment
- Number of males in the property, the number of females in the property
- Names, where given, are usually just the head of the household so if houses or properties were shared then only one head of household is given
We are lucky in Deal in that the enumerators listed the heads of each household on all the early censuses and even luckier as on the 1821 and 1831 they also included the street names too.
Copies of all the early censuses can be found in Deal library on microfiche, some have been transcribed and are in folders in the library’s local study area. They are also available to purchase, on microfiche, from the Kent Family History Society at www.kfhs.co.uk
From 1841 the information was recorded on pre-printed census schedules, which were left with a household before later being collected by the enumerator. Help was given to the illiterate but errors often occurred when the communication between the enumerator and the Head of the Household was poor. People were often unaware of where or when they were born which resulted in the information given as being a ‘best guess’. It was not unknown for ladies to change the date of their birth to hide their real age. The schedules were then collected and copied by the enumerator into the official books, which were known as the ‘Census Enumerator’s books’. These are what survive today and we use these since the original census schedules having been destroyed.
The handwritten transferal of the information from the schedules to the books has led to some further errors.
The census schedules contained the household address and the names, ages, sexes, occupations and places of birth of each individual living at the address.
In Deal, the house numbers are not given on this census until 1851
1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891 & 1901
As in 1841 each householder was required to complete a census schedule but this time they were asked to give more precise details of the places of birth of each resident, to state their relationship to him or her, marital status and state any disability.
This is the first census where we can actually see our ancestors handwriting as this is the first census where the original forms were kept.
Census dates and when they were taken, including the 1939 National Registration Records
All available online on subscription and some free websites or at libraries.
- 1801 – Tuesday, 10 March
- 1811 – Monday, 27 May
- 1821 – Monday, 28 May
- 1831 – Monday, 30 May
- 1841 – Sunday, 6 June
- 1851 – Sunday, 30 March
- 1861 – Sunday, 7 April
- 1871 – Sunday, 2 April
- 1881 – Sunday, 3 April
- 1891 – Sunday, 5 April
- 1901 – Sunday, 31 March The 1901 census for Deal is missing.
- 1911 – Sunday, 2 April
- National Registration Act 1939 – Friday, 29 September