Anyone who used to search the census returns for England and Wales at the old Family Records Centre in London before its closure in 2008 would have been used to the large binders of street indexes to the 1841-1891 census returns which were such a valuable finding aid.
Although we’re now all familiar with the various digitised versions of the census returns available online, it can still be almost impossible to find the people we’re looking for in the place we’re expecting to find them.
In the “good old days”, one possible solution was to check the census street index to find the folios covering a family’s last known address and then use that information to scroll through the relevant microfilmed census pages in the hope that the family had been mis-indexed or omitted from the index.
Until now, the only way to replicate this online was if you already knew the folio numbers concerned as only some of the online census providers allow address searches.
You can now search these census street indexes online. On 2 November, the Historical Streets Project from the Your Archives strand of The National Archives’ website added the street indexes for the 1841, 1851 and 1871 censuses.
There are limitations to these indexes:
only the larger towns are covered
the indexes are organised by Registration District – which doesn’t always equate to the parish or county where we would normally expect to find the street.
London is currently shivering under a thick layer of snow
which, according to the news, is the heaviest for 18 years. So this seems like a good time for an update on some of the new data that’s appeared online since Christmas.
First of all was the addition of Counties Antrim, Down and Kerry to the 1911 census for Ireland at http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/ which were added to the existing records for Dublin on 23 December 2008.
Next came the annual upload of new data on Scotlandspeople. We can now view the images of the registers of births for 1855-1908, marriages 1855-1933 and deaths 1855-1958 at http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/
The current big excitement is the 1911 census for England and Wales which went live on 14 January at http://www.1911census.co.uk/. They have gradually added to the number of counties available and currently the whole of England except for Cumberland, Westmorland, Northumberland, Durham and the North and East Ridings of Yorkshire are available. Wales has still to be added. To check on progress and find out about enhancements to the search facilities as they are added, read the blog at http://blog.1911census.co.uk/
A less well publicised launch was the addition of the civil registration indexes for Ireland which are available on the Familysearch Record Search pilot site at http://pilot.familysearch.org. Irish civil registration indexes begin in 1845 for Protestant marriages. Civil registration indexes for births, deaths and all marriages begin in 1864. The available indexes cover all of Ireland from 1845/1864 to 1922 and the Republic of Ireland from 1923-1958. As the General Register Office for Northern Ireland has an online certificate ordering facility at http://www.groni.gov.uk/index/order_certificates.htm and the General Register office for Ireland has downloadable order forms at http://www.groireland.ie/apply_for_a_cert.htm ordering Irish certificates has now become much easier.