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Between 1851 and 1901 the census forms and the information requested changed very gradually, but the 1911 Census of England & Wales is dramatically different.

Name and surname

In 1841 only the first christian name was to be given; by 1851 it was optional to state the initial of a second name; in 1891 and 1901 this was compulsory.

However on the 1911 Census Schedule there are no specific instructions to the householder, and in every one of the 42 examples shown there is only a first name and a surname.

Particulars as to marriage

In 1901 the only information entered was the marital status, eg Single, Married, or Widowed; this column remains in 1911 but there are 4 new columns which were intended to be completed only in respect of married women:

the number of completed years the present marriage has lasted
the total number of children born alive in the present marriage
the number of children still living
the number of children who have died 

We chose the word intended deliberately - because on the very first completed form we saw the entry had been completed for the husband, rather than for the wife.

In many cases this wouldn't make much difference, but in this particular case the first wife had died after giving birth to at least 3 children of the 11 children that the head of the family had fathered (2 of the 11 died in infancy and were probably also the children of the first wife).

Profession or occupation

In 1911 more details were required, so that where the person was an employee it was clear what the business of the employer was. Examples given in the instructions included:

Cardboard Box Maker - Soap Manufacturer
Bricklayer - Blast Furnace
Railway Engine Driver - Brewer
Wood Sawyer - Pianoforte Works

Furthermore it was stipulated that nobody should be described simply as a Labourer or Porter, but as a Farm Labourer, Bricklayer's Labourer, Dock Labourer, Railway Porter etc. 



1911 Census Info is completely independent of the National Archives and the Office of National Statistics; information is provided in good faith and we cannot accept any liability for errors or omissions