Finding an address in the
transcription of the 1881 census
of England and Wales

These notes are primarily intended for anyone who wishes to find the record of a specific address in (the microform copy of) the transcription of the 1881 census of England and Wales. Unlike the original census records the transcription of the 1881 census does not include details of the census registration and enumeration districts, which are the means by which the census street indexes refer to places. The 1881 census street indexes do, however, have information which can be used to reduce the amount of searching for any particular address in the transcription.

Microform copies of the 1881 census transcription and index and street indexes are available or can be ordered at LDS Family History Centre™s.

  1. Determine the registration district

    The most difficult aspect of using any of the census street indexes can be determining the registration district (RD) in which the required address was located.

    If the address has been obtained from a birth, marriage, or death certificate from the Office for National Statistics (General Register Office), then the RD will be stated on the certificate. The accompanying table gives the names and numbers of the RDs for which street indexes are available, and the volume number of the street index for each RD. The county in which the address was located must also be known.

    If the RD is not known, a useful finding aid is the Register of towns indexed by streets for the 1841 - 1881 census of England and Wales (LDS Family History Library Catalog number 6026692). From this index, for the place in question, get the county name, RD name (listed under "Indexed under"), and volume number.

    Note that some streets span registration districts, so it may be necessary to check the index of more than one RD.

  2. Get the sub-district and enumeration district numbers from the street index

    Consult the index volume(s) for the required RD(s). When reading a street index make sure that it is for the correct RD: the name of the RD is specified at the top of each page. Find the street in the index and note the numbers of the sub-district(s) and enumeration district(s) in which the street was located. (It is not uncommon for a street to span more than one enumeration district.)

  3. Find the piece number(s) from the DETAILS OF REFERENCE NUMBERS table

    At the beginning of each RD's street index there is a DETAILS OF REFERENCE NUMBERS table. This specifies which Public Record Office documents contain which census data. Consult this table and for each pair of sub-district and enumeration district numbers obtained from the street index, determine the corresponding piece number - the nnn in RG 11/nnn.

  4. Look for the address in the AS ENUMERATED census

    The transcription of the 1881 census is the AS ENUMERATED format (with yellow background) and, for each county, is organised by piece number in ascending numerical order. The starting piece and folio numbers of each fiche are written on the fiche title bar. Having located the fiche on which the transcription of the required piece starts, find the beginning of the piece's data, identified by the lowest folio number. (These numbers are on the right of each line of census data.) From there search through the addresses (on the left of each line) for the required address. Keep an eye on the piece number so as not to continue to the next piece (unless more of the street is listed there).

List of corrections to names in the 1881 census transcription Web site directory

GENUKI England page

Copyright 1998 - 2010 Tony Martin-Jones