Friday, 17 September 2010

1911 Scottish census - sneak preview!

Those lovely folk at the ScotlandsPeople Centre have very kindly allowed me to show you a sneak peak of the 1911 Scottish census, which will be released in April of next year. The first thing to point out is that this is NOT an image from the census, but instead a guide page sample for enumerators who were asked to fill out the actual forms once the original household schedules had been filled in by the head of every household. So PLEASE don't write to them asking to see your great granny's record just yet - it just won't happen...! Nevertheless, when the records are released next year, this is the format in which they will be presented.

The eagle eyed amongst you will notice one very huge difference to this and the 1911 census' English, Welsh and Irish counterparts. Whereas elsewhere in the United Kingdom the original household schedules have been preserved, digitised and made available online, the equivalent household schedules for Scotland have unfortunately not survived. So when the images are released, you will instead see the enumerators' returns, as with previous decennial census releases, but running at two pages in length, as opposed to one with previous entries.

However, all is not lost! Whilst your great grandfather's bad handwriting may not be accessible to ponder over, the information contained within the enumerators' returns will in fact be very similar to that found in the front pages of other British 1911 census returns. The column on the right hand side of the first page asks the same 'fertility census' questions for married women - how many years married, how many children, and how many still alive. The question of proficiency in Scottish Gaelic (Gaidhlig) and/or English is also retained, and the number of rooms with one or more windows is surprisingly noted in one of the earliest columns on the first page, rather than to the right hand side. There are four columns dealing with occupation on the second page, and I had been told from one source that those with Irish ancestors could be in for a treat as the county of birth was said to be noted - however, in this example page two mythical Irish people have had their birthplaces simply noted as 'Ireland', so I guess we'll have to see how that one plays out!

At present there is no information available on how these returns will be priced, but it is the intention that they will be made available on both the ScotlandsPeople website ( and the ScotlandsPeople Centre ( via a simultaneous release next April, which I think may be a first for a records release in Scotland.

Don't say I am not good to you - and roll on next year's release of the Scottish 1911 census!

(As ever, I am again hugely indebted to Dee Williams and the team at ScotlandsPeople)

NB: For a closer look, please visit the Scottish GENES Facebook page!

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