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Source Information

Ancestry.com. 1841 Scotland Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.
Original data: 1841 Scotland Census. Edinburgh, Scotland: General Register Office for Scotland. Reels 1-151. General Register Office for Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland.

About 1841 Scotland Census

The 1841 Census for Scotland was taken on the night of 6 June 1841. The following information was requested:

  • Place (name of village, street, square, close, etc.)
  • Name of each person that had spent the night in that household
  • Age*
  • Sex (indicated by which column the age is recorded in)
  • Profession or occupation
  • Where born**

*The ages of people over 15 years old were usually rounded down to the nearest 5 years. Therefore, someone who was actually 24 years would have their age listed as 20, and someone who was actually 27 years old would have their age listed as 25. If people lied about their ages, or if their real ages were not known or reported correctly, the gap between the rounded age recorded on the census and their actual age may be quite significant.

**The "Where Born" column only asked two questions - 1) whether born in same county, and 2) whether Foreigner or whether born in England or Ireland. Possible answers and abbreviations to question #1 include: Yes (Y), No, (N), or Not Known (NK). For question #2, the following abbreviations were used: England/Wales (E), Ireland (I), and Foreign Parts (F).

Enumeration forms were distributed to all households before the census night and the complete forms were collected the next day by the enumerators. All responses were to reflect the individual's status as of 6/7 June 1841 for all individuals who had spent the night in the house. People who were traveling or living abroad were enumerated at the location where they spent the night on census night. All of the details from the individual forms were copied into enumerators' books and sent to the Registrar General's office in London. These copies are the records we can view images of today. The original householders' schedules were destroyed.

The clerks who compiled and reviewed the census data made a variety of marks on the returns. Unfortunately, many of these tally marks were written over personal information and some fields, such as ages, can be difficult to read as a result. More useful marks include a single slash (/) between households (families) within a building and a double slash (//) separating households in separate buildings.

How the census forms are organized:

Localities were organized into enumeration districts. These districts were roughly equivalent to parishes, but not always. A description of the district and its boundaries is given at the beginning of each new enumeration district.

The returns are generally organized by parish and enumeration district. Each parish has been assigned a "Parish Number". This number was originally assigned in 1855 when civil registration began being kept. The numbers were assigned in a general north to south, and east to west direction by county. Within each county, numbers were assigned in alphabetical order by parish name. Since parish numbers weren't assigned until 1855 and this census was taken in 1841, the numbers were applied to the census retroactively for reference purposes.

A full reference for a record in the 1841 census includes, the Parish Number, Enumeration District Number, Entry Number (Page Number), Parish Name, County Name, and the Census Year.

Known problems with the 1841 Census:

The following is a list of parishes (with their parish numbers and counties) that are known to be missing (either because there is no data for them, or because the original records are missing):

Parish NumberParish NameCounty
93CromdaleMoray
167SeafieldBanffshire
324AberfeldyPerthshire
367Kinloch RannochPerthshire
400AbdieFifeshire
406AuchtermuchtyFifeshire
409BalmerinoFifeshire
415CeresFifeshire
416CollesieFifeshire
418CreichFifeshire
419CultsFifeshire
420CuparFifeshire
421DairsieFifeshire
423DunbogFifeshire
439KinghornFifeshire
440KinglasieFifeshire
442KirkcaldyFifeshire
444LeslieFifeshire
509CumloddenArgyllshire
535TarbertArgyllshire
556LochranzaButeshire
557North ButeButeshire
577AuchinleckAyshire
776KirkhopeSelkirkshire
809TeviotheadRoxburghshire
862Corsock BridgeKirkcudbrightshire
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