Findmypast and The National Archives have announced that the 1921 Census of England & Wales will be published online on 6 January 2022.
1921 Census of England & Wales launching January 2022
From that day forward, everyone will be able to search and explore the census online, only at Findmypast. For the first time, the details of 38 million people captured in over 18 million colour images will be made available to all, enabling the public to access the previously unseen archival material from the comfort of their home. The 1921 Census offers more detail than all previous England and Wales censuses. Individuals were asked not only about their occupations but also their place of work, employer, and were given ‘Divorced’ as an option for marital status.
Visitors to Findmypast will not only have the ability to discover what life was like in England and Wales a century ago by discovering where, how and with whom their ancestors were living, but will also be able to search by address to uncover the history of their local area or home and the stories of former occupants.
For more than two and a half years and counting, a team of hundreds of Findmypast conservators, technicians and transcribers have undertaken the invaluable task of conserving, transcribing and digitising the 1921 census in association with The National Archives and with the help and support of the Office for National Statistics.
It is the largest project ever completed by The National Archives and Findmypast, consisting of more than 30,000 bound volumes of original documents stored on 1.6 linear kilometres of shelving.
Every page of the fragile physical documents had to be handled by a trained conservation technician who was responsible for a variety of delicate tasks including removing any objects that could damage the paper, correcting folds covering the text, teasing apart pages that had become stuck together, restoring tears and checking for and repairing other damage.
Once every page was examined, cleaned and repaired if required, Findmypast’s scanning team created an image of every page as well as any attachments and the front and back covers of each volume. Each image was then quality checked before being stored on a secure server.
This highly anticipated launch is likely to be the last significant census release for England and Wales in many people’s lifetime. Taken once a decade, the census remains secret for 100 years before being opened to the public. However, as the 1931 Census was destroyed in a fire at the Office for Works in 1942, and the 1941 Census was never captured owing to the outbreak of the Second World War, the 1921 Census will fill a huge gap for historians.