In this, the first of our update e-mails, we'll examine the background to the project and explain why the census is being released early. We'll also run through the exciting new features that make this census more insightful than its predecessors.
Its three years early
As you're probably already aware, from 2009 the information contained in the 1911 census will be released, in batches, in the form of both high-quality digital images and fully searchable transcriptions, online. Thanks to a ruling by the Information Commissioner the census is being released (bar the withholding of some sensitive information) three years earlier than its expected 100 year closure period.
This is great news for family historians, and so too is the news that findmypast.com, the market leader in online genealogy, is managing the project.
A giant of genealogical data
The 1911 census is gargantuan in stature: in its physical form it occupies two kilometres of shelving at The National Archives, or, for the analogically minded, that's the combined length of 200 double-decker buses - though assuredly the census holds more people. There are 36,070,492, in fact, and among them are the forebears of family historians the world over.
Invaluable new information
As with previous censuses the 1911 census shows the name, age, gender, and marital status of each person, as well as detailing their occupation and birthplace. But for the first time ever the following information is also included:
Details of nationality
Duration of current marriage
How many children have been born to that marriage - including children no longer living at home and those who died
Details of the precise branch of a profession or trade an individual worked in. For instance, whether a carpenter worked in a colliery, a ship works, or was a house carpenter and joiner
Household schedules have survived so we can see our ancestors' own handwriting, complete with any unsolicited additional comments they might have made
First UK census in colour
1911 will be the first ever UK census to be scanned in colour, making its images far sharper and more faithful to the original document than those of any that has preceded it.
Spread the word
1911census.co.uk will be, at launch and for some considerable time after, the only place to access the 1911 census online. If you have friends or colleagues who share your interest in family history, then be sure to tell them to register on the site so that they don't miss out on the launch.
Between now and the 2009 launch we'll be sending you regular updates and imparting some useful tips and background information to ensure you get the most from this exciting new census.
Our best wishes,
The 1911census.co.uk team.