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England and Wales 1921 Census records are online

Richard James Howes and family - 1921 Census

For family historians with an interest in the UK, the big event for 2022 is the arrival of the 1921 census. As was true for the 1911 census what we are seeing for this census are the forms completed by our ancestors themselves in their own handwriting.

Within an hour of the census becoming available, we were able to download a few forms, one of which is reproduced above.

The online census is available initially from one information provider only: FindMyPast (FMP). You can view a transcript or the original image. Our advice: do not bother with the transcription! Only use the original. It costs £3.50 (or US$4.90) to view a single census form, which may include an entire family. For FMP Pro subscribers, there is a 10% discount). Once viewed, you may download a copy of the form, as we did.

After some time (we don't yet know how long) the census will be available to every subscriber to FMP's UK data at no extra charge. Some time later, as happened with the 1939 Register, we expect it will then be available to other sites, like Ancestry and so on.

As for the actual form (this one shows my grandfather, his sister, father and step-mother) you will see that it shows some extra information not previously seen: the name of each person's employer and their place of work. What is obviously missing is the family's address. It IS there, however, just on a different sheet: the front sheet of the papers given to each householder to complete. To find that on FMP's site, click on the box called "Extra Materials" at the bottom of the page and then on the image named "Front".

Note too that as for the 1911 census you can see the actual signature of the person completing the form.

There is one important "mistake" on the form: April 24 was the intended date of the census but because of a workers' strike the government took a last minute decision to postpone the operative date to June 19, but without reprinting all the paperwork.

I've just re-read the words I wrote at the release of the 1911 census and think that in retrospect I was a tad harsh. It is certainly irksome to have to pay for something our ancestors were compelled to give for free. However, someone had to transcribe it, photograph it and build a database, and that's not cheap. So I quite understand why FMP is charging for the images. With 16,000 people with our study names alive in 1921 we cannot afford to pay that kind of money. Apart maybe from my immediate family and a few others we will not be purchasing very much for a while.

HOWEVER, if you purchase any Howes/House/Howse/Hows images for your own family because, like me, you can't wait, please do let me know what they contain! We are eager to keep the site as up to date as we can. Many thanks in advance.

Paul. January 2021

Addendum for genealogists, or those trying to save money by not buying the wrong form:
1) hover your cursor over the Transcript or Image buttons at the right hand side. the names of two of the other residents will show, although it will not mention their surname. For most people that may well tip the balance one way or another.
2) if not, do a search for one or both of those two extra people with that name and surname living in the same area. If they have the same surname, that may help. If not, you can actually find their surname by the following. Choose "Advanced Options", enter the given names of the person not sharing the surname in the given name box, delete the surname, leave the location alone and enter the name you DO know in the boxes or "Other household member" at the bottom of the page. That should do it. You can also find that other person's year and place of birth.