1921 Census for England and Wales published today

Today we have published the 1921 Census for England and Wales online with our partners Findmypast.

Taken on 19 June 1921, the census is a survey of 38 million people living in England and Wales during a period of economic turmoil between two world wars and recovering from a global pandemic.

It has taken a team of hundreds of Findmypast conservators, technicians and transcribers almost three years to conserve and digitise more than 30,000 bound volumes of original documents, stored on 1.6 linear kilometres of shelving, ahead of publication today.

You can find out more about what to expect from the 1921 Census of England and Wales by visiting www.findmypast.co.uk/1921-census.

To mark the historic moment, we have launched 20sPeople, an exciting programme of events and activities connecting our lives in the 2020s with those of people living in the 1920s.

A central part of the season will be our on site exhibition, ‘The 1920s: Beyond the Roar’, opening on 21 January and offering a chance to step into a day in the life of the 1920s – ending in a nightclub with all the associated sights and sounds.

Jeff James, Chief Executive and Keeper at The National Archives, said:

‘Census releases are keenly anticipated and create a period of collective curiosity about the past. These records reveal what has changed and evolved over time but can also provide familiarity with our lives today.

‘The 1921 Census allows a snapshot of life 100 years ago, at a time when individuals and communities were embarking on a new era where everyday rights and roles were changing. What makes it even more important is that it will be the last census release for England and Wales for 30 years, with the 1931 Census lost in a fire during the Second World War and the 1941 Census never taken.

‘As home to more than 1,000 years of history, The National Archives is delighted to be working with Findmypast to open up this unique collection to the world.’

Tamsin Todd, Chief Executive Officer at Findmypast said: ‘This is a day when we as a nation get to reflect on our shared history and personal history, as we read the extraordinary stories captured by the 1921 Census of England and Wales. Taken between two world wars, following a global flu pandemic, during a period of economic turmoil and migration, with social change at home as women won the right to vote, the 1921 Census documents a moment in time that will resonate with people living today.

‘It has been a great honour for Findmypast to work with The National Archives as its selected partner to digitise and transcribe the 1921 Census. I am incredibly proud of our Findmypast team who have worked with passion and dedication to conserve, scan, and transcribe 38 million historical records. Our advanced search technology enables family historians to easily find and view images of the 1921 Census, and connect individual records into their family trees. Family historians around the world can now meaningfully search the Census to reveal where and how their ancestors lived and worked 100 years ago.’

Visitors to The National Archives in Kew will be able to view the 1921 Census online for free, via the Findmypast website, as will visitors to two regional hubs at Manchester Central Library and the National Library of Wales. Access at the Manchester Central Library will be supported by the Manchester and Lancashire Family History Society helpdesk and the Archives+ Team (www.archivesplus.org). More details can be found in our census information portal.

Tags: 1921 census, 20sPeople, census, family history, genealogy