Census through the Ages

#52 Ancestors Week 27: Free Census

I am way behind in my project for #52 ancestors in 52 weeks, however, I figure that I can spread them out and pick and choose which topics fit my theme for when I do get back to this blog. Week 27 had a Free theme, so that enables me to focus on a topic that is both free and pertinent for this time in Australia.

During this month of August, many of us are focussed on completing our census return in 2021. This is an important task for our families, a way of leaving another piece of our history for generations to come. The new online census return is incredibly easy to complete and I happily filled in my details so that in 100 years time, my descendants would get to know where I lived and where I came from.

My recent post in Facebook, see below, prompted to consider the way the Census has changed over the centuries we have had them.

Message to my descendants: 2121
When I filled in the online Census 2021, I was thinking of you. Your ancestors are all waiting for you to come find them. Find a copy of your family tree in the cloud at FindMyPast.
I have written many of our family stories and published them in my blogs. Hope they are still there in WordPress. I wonder what the Internet looks like in your era and how you will preserve your family history.
At this time the world is in the grip of climate change and its population is struggling with a global pandemic. I wonder what the new world looks like for you and whether you have overcome all the obstacles we left in your path.
I know that you, our new family historians, have needed to wait for such a long time for this census to be published. That is why I ticked the box to agree to share our details.
All your ancestral records are gathered in our family archives in the cloud – I hope you can still access them.It is important for you to continue to record our family history and fill in your census returns.
Best wishes from Great Grandma & Grandpa!

In my ancestral archives I have a whole collection of census records relating to my own Great Grandpa, Samuel John Allery. I have collated those for you to show you how even small pieces of information, about the family in the house on the night of each census can build your story. Even small inaccuracies in transcriptions can tell their own story. In putting these census together in the presentation below, I was able to see some other pertinent facts about Samuel.

In looking back over this census collection I discovered a few more items to add to his story:

  • name changes – known as John in 1851 census – son of William and Mary – known as Samuel John in later census records – until 1901 when he once again is listed as John
  • family homes – parish, county and actual addresses from Devon in 1851 to Walworth in 1861 and London by 1881
  • transcription errors – listed as Samuel I Iller (not Allery) in 1871 census
  • married by 1871 – living with wife Mary A and 2 children – Rosina listed as 11 (should be 11 months) and Henry as 3
  • moved to Camberwell by 1881 – 4 children listed – Henry 13, Rosina 11, Walter 9 (my grandfather), Jessie 5 (last census for Great Grandmother Mary Ann Hall D: 1881)
  • now living with Jemima (married Jemima Blackburn in 1884) – his mother Mary A (widow) living with family – 1891 – 3 more sons Dave, Frank and Benjamin
  • six more sons living at home by 1901 – Dave, Frank, Benjamin, Sydney, Ernest and Edward – mother Mary A still with the family at census
  • all six sons still unmarried and living at home by 1911


I am really looking forward to the 1921 UK Census, they will be available in 2022. Read about the project at Family Tree Magazine and if you are interested in searching for your ancestors with census try these links:

If you are seeking blank Census records as PDF documents, try these from Family Search or Ancestry.

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