Here's a boost for those searching their family genealogy in the United Kingdom.
Entire 1911 Census now Available Online for the First Time
Research commissioned by 1911census.co.uk reveals nearly a quarter of the population (23%) have now actively researched their family tree*, with 2.9 million people having visited 1911census.co.uk to research their own ancestors’ census records since the website went live in January this year**. The pastime is now just as popular as participating in team sports and overtaking other popular hobbies such as making Twitter posts and blogging (11%) and bingo (13%).
Following the initial release of the Southern English records in January 2009, the website now hosts the complete 1911 census records for people living in England, Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. What’s more, for the first time in a British census, full details are available of British Army personnel and their families stationed overseas. There were 135,866 people serving in the British Army and 36,804 people serving in the Royal Navy across the British Empire in 1911, including 69,785 serving in India.
Christine Webber, psychotherapist and lifecoach, says: “Being able to find out how our grandparents and great-grandparents lived gives our own lives some extra perspective, and also helps us to understand ourselves better. The ability to delve into what our relatives were doing almost a hundred years ago is fascinating. It also helps us to get a sense of our own place in history. I think that getting in touch with your own roots is a very valuable and healing thing to do. So, this is a most exciting development.”
And it’s not just the older generation who are embracing the chance to discover more about their roots. Over a fifth (21% of under 35s and 35-55 year olds) have researched their family history in the past 12 months. People are turning to genealogy for a wide variety of reasons, from wanting to find out more about family stories that have been passed down through the generations (28%), to being inspired by TV shows like ‘Who Do Think You Are?’ and after a family event such as the birth of a new child (12%).
Women, however, are still leading the way when it comes to family history research as over one quarter (26%) are actively researching their family history, compared to only one fifth of men (20%).
The 1911census.co.uk website service has been developed by UK-based family history website findmypast.com, owned by brightsolid, in association with The National Archives***. Completed by 36 million householders on Sunday, 2 April 1911, the census records show the name, age, place of birth, marital status and occupation of every resident in every home as well as their relationship to the head of the household and the online records include images of our ancestors’ own handwriting. For the first time the enumerators’ summary books for the whole of England and Wales have also gone online today, recording details of all properties in the country in 1911 – a great resource for anyone interested in local history or house histories. The 1911 census records have been released three years earlier than the scheduled 2012 date as a result of public demand for the 1911 census, which will be a key resource for family historians.
Debra Chatfield, Marketing Manager at findmypast.com, says: ‘“We’re delighted that the final records have been uploaded from the 1911 census including the military records and the records for Wales, the Isle of Man and Channel Islands. We hope many generations will gain a huge amount of valuable information about their ancestors by consulting the records and that they’ll discover new chapters of their family history that they previously knew very little or nothing about.”
Oliver Morley, Director of Customer and Business Development at The National Archives, commented: “It’s wonderful to see that so many people are discovering a new passion for family history through the 1911 census. Bringing this project to completion has been one of the most exciting events for us this year, and to know that so many people have been able to access part of their personal history online shows how valuable it can be to make these records available via the web.”
**Findmypast.com internal data
***In line with data protection legislation, certain sensitive information relating to infirmity and to children of women prisoners will be held back until 2012. The 1911 census is a special case at the request of the Information Commissioner all records of infirmity as listed on the records (e.g. ‘deaf’, ‘dumb’, ‘blind’, ‘lunatic’ etc.) have been obscured and will not be available to view until January 2012.