The 1841 Census for the Channel Islands was taken on the night of 6 June 1841. The following information was requested:
- Name of street, place, road, etc.
- House number or name
- Name of each person that had spent the night in that household
- Sex (indicated by which column the age is recorded in)
- Profession or occupation
- Where born**
*The ages of people over 15 years old were usually rounded down to the nearest 5 years. Therefore, someone who was actually 24 years would have their age listed as 20, and someone who was actually 27 years old would have their age listed as 25.
**The "Where Born" column only asked two questions - 1) whether born in same county, and 2) whether born in Scotland, Ireland, or Foreign Parts. Possible answers and abbreviations to question #1 include: Yes (Y), No, (N), or Not Known (NK). For question #2, the following abbreviations were used: Scotland (S), Ireland (I), and Foreign Parts (F).
Enumeration forms were distributed to all households a couple of days before census night and the complete forms were collected the next day. All responses were to reflect the individual's status as of 6 June 1841 for all individuals who had spent the night in the house. People who were traveling or living abroad were enumerated at the location where they spent the night on census night. All of the details from the individual forms were later sorted and copied into enumerators' books, which are the records we can view images of today. The original householder's schedules from 1841 to 1901 were destroyed.
The clerks who compiled and reviewed the census data made a variety of marks on the returns. Unfortunately, many of these tally marks were written over personal information and some fields, such as ages, can be difficult to read as a result. More useful marks include a single slash between households within a building and a double slash separating households in separate buildings.
Color Images of Hard-to-Read Pages:
A major problem with the 1841 census is that it was written in pencil rather than pen. This has resulted in many faded pages which have proved unreadable on microfilm. To rectify this problem Ancestry has gone back to the original census manuscripts at The National Archives (TNA) and digitised many of these hard-to-read pages. The result is hi-resolution color images with writing that is now more clearly visible.
Pages digitised as color images were chosen from documents identified by TNA as damaged or as exceptionally difficult to read.
The following is a list of piece numbers that include some color images:
How the census forms are organized:
For the 1841 census parishes were organized into hundreds (and into wapentakes in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire) rather than registration districts as in the later censuses. The 1841 census returns were organized alphabetically according to county, hundred, and parish names. Consecutive piece numbers were assigned to hundreds or parts of hundreds for reference purposes. You will find the piece number on a paper strip on the side or bottom of every image, following the PRO class number (HO 107). There may be hundreds of pieces within a county.
Pieces are comprised of books which in turn are comprised of enumeration districts. It is the book number, rather than the enumeration district number that is important to researchers for referencing. The book number is shown on the paper strip on the side or bottom of every image following the piece number.
In addition to the piece and book numbers, each page of the returns includes a folio number and/or a page number. The folio number was stamped onto every other page before microfilming and is located in the upper right hand corner of the image. Folio numbering usually starts over at the beginning of each book. The page number is part of the printed form and is found on every page, usually at the top centre. The page numbers start over at the beginning of every enumeration district. A full reference number for a record in the 1841 census includes the PRO class number (HO 107), the piece number, the book number, and the folio number.
Some of the above information was taken from "Chapter 6: Census Returns," Ancestral Trails: The Complete Guide to British Genealogy and Family History by Mark D. Herber (Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1998) and Using Census Returns, Pocket Guides to Family History by David Annal (Richmond, Surrey: Public Record Office, 2002).