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The first census was taken in 1801 and they have been taken every 10 years since then, with the exception of 1941. No detailed returns were required to be kept until 1841, so this is the first census for which personal details are available. It is not as detailed as the later returns, giving only address, names, approximate ages, occupations and whether born in the country or outside. Ages of everyone over 15 years old are rounded down to the nearest 5 years. In common with the later censuses this was taken on one night, in this case 6th/7th June 1841. It is, therefore, a snapshot, and records people where they were staying on that particular night, not necessarily their permanent address.

The later censuses give more detail. Ages are more accurate, places of birth are more specific, they give relationships to the head of household and marital status. Census returns are closed for 100 years, so the latest census currently available is 1901.

We hold microfilm copies of all census returns of the area of the present Dudley Metropolitan Borough and have some limited coverage of Rowley Regis and Tipton. 1841 - 1881 inclusive and 1901 are held on microfilm, while we have the 1891 census on microfiche.

We also subscribe to ancestry.co.uk which has census information for the UK and further afield.

We hold an index to the 1851 census for Kingswinford in book form, and on microfiche for:

  • Dudley

  • Halesowen

  • Stourbridge

  • Bromsgrove

  • and part of Sedgley

We also hold the 1881 index on microfiche for:

  • Staffordshire

  • Worcestershire

  • Warwickshire

  • Shropshire

  • Herefordshire

  • Cheshire

  • Derbyshire

  • Gloucestershire

  • Leicestershire

  • Northamptonshire

  • Oxfordshire

  • All of Wales

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