Names, places, relationships, and any other information found on the census returns was extracted exactly how it appeared in the original. Currently, the search function is an exact search. Therefore, it might be necessary to try several search terms. Tips for doing so are listed below.

How to search for a widow

  • Some may be indexed as “Wd + Smith”
  • Some are listed only by their surname
  • Sometimes Wd, Wid, or Widow was written in the column marked “occupation” or “all other persons.” In those cases, the notes about widowhood were entered in “additional information.” If “widow” was listed as the woman’s first name on the return, it has been extracted as her first name. In either case, it is best to search by surname only.

Abbreviated Names

  • Sometimes only the first initial of the first name was included. In these cases, it might be easiest to search by surname only, limiting results to a particular place.
  • Names were extracted in their original form, including if they were abbreviated.
Abbreviations Name
Benj or Benjn Benjamin
Geo George
Han Hannah
Hy, Heny, or Hny Henry
Jno John
Jos Joseph or Josiah
Josh Joshua
Rbt or Robt Robert
Sam or Saml Samuel
Thos Thomas
Tiny Timothy
Wm William

Occupation Only

  • Occasionally someone was included in the census with no name and just an occupation. They are included in the extraction as [blank] for their surname and their occupation is listed. If you know the occupation of the person you’re searching for and where they lived, you might be able to identify possible candidates by searching for occupation only.

Executors or Administrators

  • Periodically the executors or administrators of an estate might be listed as the householder. If the deceased’s name was listed, it was extracted. Where possible, a will or letters of administration for the deceased were located so that the executor’s/administrator’s names could be identified. In these cases, details about the probate records are included in the “additional information” section.


  • Occasionally people were listed only by their title (Duke of __, Bishop of ___, etc). When someone is listed by their title, researchers consulted encyclopedias, peerage books, the Dictionary of National Biography, and occupational databases such as The Clergy of the Church of England or the Records of London’s Livery Companies Online to identify the testator/testatrix.
  • If a name was identified in one of these sources, a citation for it will appear in the “additional information” section.

Surname Only

  • Surnames were often the only names recorded in the census. Searching by surname only will reveal those extractions.

Overseers, Workhouses, Poorhouses, Almshouses

  • Some returns list inmates of workhouses without names – using only gender, and sometimes occupation, to identify people. These have been extracted and listed with a surname of “Workhouse.” Searching for Workhouse as surname will bring up all returns with unnamed inmates.


  • Colin R. Chapman, Pre-1841 Censuses and Population Listings in the British Isles, (Genealogical Publishing Company, 1998).
  • Jeremy Gibson and Mervyn Medlycott, Local Census Listings, 1522-1930, (Genealogical Publishing Company, 1992).
  • Richard Wall, Matthew Woollard, Beatrice Moring, Census Schedules and Listings, 1801-1831: An Introduction and Guide (Department of History, University of Essex, 2004, republished in 2012).
  •, "Pre 1841 Census Records"