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Society of Genealogists – Press Release

Date: 00.01, Thursday 6th January, 2022
For immediate release

Society of Genealogists Welcomes Release of the 1921 Census of England and Wales

The Society of Genealogists welcomes the release of the 1921 Census of England & Wales, covering over 38 million people and including more data than ever on life between the World Wars. The release also includes a census for the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands and unusually, information from areas of the former British Empire, such as Canada, South Africa, India and New Zealand. This census is also important because the 1931 census was destroyed by fire and war prevented the 1941 census from taking place. Therefore, given the 100 year rule, there may not be another census release until 2052.

Family, social and local historians, as well as genealogists can now dig further into the details provided by this landmark census, recorded on the night of Sunday 19th June, 1921. Respondents were asked to report their trade, employer, and marital status and those under 15 were asked whether their parents were alive or dead.

This is also the first census in which those over 15 were asked not only to note if they were single or married but also whether they had been divorced, perhaps reflecting that this was becoming more common. This was the first census after the First World War, with population numbers reflecting the change in demographics, a huge increase in the number of widows and tragically almost three quarters of a million children recorded with ‘Father Dead’.

The 1921 census was taken slightly later in the year, in June rather than the usual April of earlier censuses. This was largely due to industrial strikes and unrest and, as might be expected, there is a marked increase in the size of the populations for seaside towns such as Blackpool and Southend-On-Sea. This release also allows people to search for people by address.

The ability to search online for our ancestors in these important records is an exciting opportunity for anyone tracing their family, social and local history. The censuses from 1841 onwards provide an invaluable snapshot of our ancestors’ households, on one night, giving vital genealogical information about relationships, ages, birth places, occupations and the social conditions in which they lived.

Notes to editors:

  • The Society of Genealogists is the largest and oldest Genealogical Society in the UK, providing an extensive education and learning programme for family historians. Our extensive and esteemed genealogical library is in store while we seek new premises, but many of our digital collections and items are available to search online on our website
  • The 1921 Census for England and Wales, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man will be available to view digitally on a dedicated site on Thursday 6th January 2022.
  • The onine census is transcribed and indexed and published by FindmyPast. There will be a charge of £2.50 for every record transcript and £3.50 for every original record image viewed - current subscribers to Findmypast will also have to pay although there will be a 10% discount for 12-month Pro subscribers.
  • Digital images of the 1921 Census will be available to be viewed for free on the premises at The National Archives at Kew, the National Library of Wales and Manchester Central Library from the same date, 6th January 2022.
  • For press enquiries, interviews and expert commentary concerning the 1921 census and its use by family historians contact SoG’s Genealogist, Else Churchill 07841 776226.
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