The history of Clophill, Bedfordshire, UK
Including historical descriptions, maps and statistical analysis.

Census Transcripts

Definition Of Terms Used On Census Returns.

Annuitant - The term annuitant could describe someone on an annual allowance as well as someone receiving annual income from an investment. Often however, it was also used for institutionalized pensioners.

Boarder - a person who shares the dinner table with the family.

Lodger - a person who has separate accommodation to the householder.

Lunatic - a mentally ill person with periods of lucidity.

Imbecile - persons who have fallen in later life into a state of chronic dementia.

Idiot - persons who suffer from congenital mental deficiency.

Scholar - from 1861 on wards a child was described as a scholar if he/she was over 5 and receiving daily schooling or regular tuition at home. There was no definition of the latter. In 1871 the census officials in London broke the confidentiality pledge and divulged the names of all children 3-13 and their parents (with addresses) to the London School Board to help enforce compulsory education.

Dressmaker - the occupation of 'dressmaker' was commonly given by prostitutes.

In-Law - terms such as Brother and Brother-in-Law were used interchangeably and somewhat unreliably. Likewise Sister and Sister-in-Law.


Click year to see transcripts of the censuses.


Sunday, 6 June 1841

The United Kingdom Census of 1841 recorded the occupants of every UK household on the night of 6 June, 1841. It was described as the "first modern census" in that it was the first to record information about every member of the household and because it was administered as a single event, under central control, rather than being devolved to a local level. It formed the model for all subsequent UK censuses, although each went on to refine and expand the questions asked of householders.


Sunday, 30 March

This census added considerably to the fields recorded in the earlier 1841 census, providing additional details of ages, relationships and origins, making the 1851 census a rich source of information for both demographers and genealogists.

Questions on Relation to head of the household, marital status, place of birth, whether blind, deaf or dumb. Language spoken (Ireland [6]). Rounding down of ages dropped.


Sunday, 7 April


Sunday, 2 April

Question on "Whether an imbecile, idiot or lunatic" added.


Sunday, 3 April


Sunday, 5 April


Sunday, 31 March

Number of rooms in dwelling. Whether an employer, worker or working on one's own account. Whether working at home or not


Sunday, 2 April

Industry or service with which the worker is connected. How long the couple has been married. How many children were born alive, how many who are still alive, and how many who have died.