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
- Longford, 1801 P171/A/1/4
- Shrewsbury Holy Cross and St Giles, 1821 P250/B/52
- Shrewsbury St Chad, 1821 P253/V/1/1
- Shrewsbury St Julian, 1831 P256/L/6/1 – available on FindMyPast
- Shrewsbury St Mary, 1821 P257/B/30/1
- Wellington, 1821 P291/V/1/1
- West Felton, 1801 P298/V/1/2/1-3
- Wrockwardine, 1831 P316/L/17/1
Most have been transcribed and you can search the indexes and view digital images on our website by following the links. Read more about how to find them on our blog.
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 on the website for the Office of National Statistics
Other sites that might be useful for statistical information are:
Vision of Britain – reports based on information from censuses up to 1971 and you can search for census data relating to a town or district
Online Historical Population Reports – online access to the complete population reports for Britain and Ireland from 1801 to 1937 and background information, including examples of documents.