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Census returns

The census is a count of the population. The UK census is taken every ten years. The earliest census was 1801, but the first few censuses give only statistical information. From 1841 onwards, the census includes names of individuals and other information such as age and place of birth, which is fantastic for family history.

The full census returns are only available when they are over 100 years old.

Census returns online

Census returns 1841-1911 are searchable on the Ancestry and FindMyPast websites. We subscribe to the library editions of these sites so you can search on the computers here and at libraries in Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin for free.

Finding and using census returns at Shropshire Archives

We hold microfiche copies of census returns, 1841-1901, for Shropshire. Please book a microfiche viewer in advance.

A few parishes made population returns between 1801 and 1841. These generally just give the head of the household and numbers in the family and are available for:

  • Bishop’s Castle, 1831 transcript in binders with other census indexes
  • Leighton, 1821 P159/V/1/2 original only
  • Longford, 1801 P171/A/1/4 original only
  • Shrewsbury Holy Cross and St Giles, 1821 (Parish register microfiche for Shrewsbury Holy Cross and St Giles no. 267-270)
  • Shrewsbury St Chad, 1821 (Parish register microfiche for Shrewsbury St Chad no. 399-401)
  • Shrewsbury St Julian, 1831 P256/L/6/1 – damaged to be handled only by staff]
  • Shrewsbury St Mary, 1821 (Parish register microfiche for Shrewsbury St Mary no. 2273-74)
  • Wellington, 1821 Indexed transcript shelved with census indexes
  • West Felton, 1801 P298/V/1/2 original only
  • Wrockwardine, 1831 P316/L/17/1 original only

Where census returns are original only, you’ll need to use our Search Room to view them.

We also hold some statistics from more recent population counts, ref qC31.2

Find out more

For more information please check our printable short guides page.

Information in other places

Statistics from more recent census are the website for the Office of National Statistics