Wednesday, April 13, 2005

1841 English Census -- now Online

This just in from Jane Hewitt. Myrt :)
From: Jane Hewitt
Sent: Friday, April 08, 2005 11:52 AM
1841 English Census -- England's First -- now Online!

-Another generation of census data available exclusively at British Origins

These are exciting times for genealogists and family historians. Hot on the heels of the 1861 census, the earliest name-inclusive census of England is now available on British Origins at While the ancient Egyptians and the Babylonians were conducting censuses long before Joseph and Mary returned to Bethlehem for the census there, England had
to wait till 1841. English genealogy researchers who had previously to scroll through miles of microfilm can now, with the click of a mouse, take their family trees back another couple of generations.

People are becoming more and more interested in how their ancestors lived - what they did, what the social conditions were like - and are increasingly aware that they need to look beyond birth, marriage and death records. Census records don't just allow you to put family units together - parents, children, and other relatives - but identify servants, and give occupations. So you get a picture of people's lives from their occupations and the type and number of servants, eg personal maid, housemaid, upper floor maid, cook, groom. Rat catchers and lamplighters are in stark contrast to the professions of today.

Researchers using the 1841 England and Wales Census can unveil the lives of prominent figures from this period, such as John Russell, more commonly known as 'Jack Russell' who created the self - named famous breed of dog.

Jack Russell, a parson in Swimbridge and also a keen Devon huntsman, was pre-occupied with the idea of creating the perfect hunting dog .When he was given a dog whilst studying in Oxford, he bred it with a Devon hunt terrier and the Jack Russell terrier breed was created (also know for some time as a Parson Terrier). His entry can be found within the Devon records of the England and Wales 1841 Census.

The Origins Network, specialists in British and Irish genealogy, provide exclusive access to a rich and growing collection of records which put flesh on the bones of one's ancestors. These include a unique collection of apprenticeship records, which identify the apprentice's father or mother, where
they lived, what their occupation was, to whom and where the apprentice moved, and the trade into which they were apprenticed. There were a surprising number of women apprentices entering many different trades, including tilers and bricklayers, armourers and braziers, founders, fletchers and pin makers.

Many of the records tell true and personal stories. Applications for militia service are particularly rich. The 1904 application of John Byrne, of Clonmel, Co. Tipperary, to join the South Tipperary Artillery tells us, under "next of kin", that he had a brother in Plymouth, Devon, two sisters in Chicago, and three sisters in Queensland. The 1894 application of Joseph Hogan, of Liverpool, who joined the Royal Lancaster regiment, informs us that he was born in Hyderabad, India, was a musician who had worked or studied with a Mr Heintzman in Toronto the year before, had served in the Derbyshire Regiment for 12 years before that (so had clearly been boy soldier), transferred to the Wicklow Artillery militia in 1895, and bought himself out of a 6-year engagement in 1897. (Was this to get married?).

Joseph was 5 ft 5 in tall, weighed 133 lbs, had a chest measurement of 34½ inches, fair complexion, dark blue eyes, and light brown hair. Truly putting "flesh on the bones".

Wills are a well-known source, and British Origins provides exclusive access to some of greatest UK sources. Wills provide information on the kind of property your ancestors owned, how much money they had, who they left it to. For example, Robert Goodwin's 1803 will showed that he left money to three illegitimate daughters, by two North American Indian mothers, and to an illegitimate son. The 1731 will of Nicholas Foster, of Riccall, Yorkshire, was signed "his mark", indicating that Nicholas was illiterate. He was not a well-off man, leaving only a guinea each to his four children, Thomas, John, Anne and Suzanna, and everything else to his wife, also Suzanna.

A further new addition to The Origins Network, an index to petitions to Trinity House for charitable aid by disabled seamen or their widows, provides access to an extraordinary amount of genealogical information. The petitions, covering the period 1787 to 1854, give a career history for the seaman, names and ages of his dependants, and other documents typically including baptismal and marriage certificates. For example, Emily Darnell's petition of November 1851 shows that her husband, Thomas, went to sea aged 10, serving for 24 years, lastly as master of the 113 ton coasting vessel Caroline, before being lost at sea in "the Gale of 25 September", leaving 5 children under 14 years: Thomas (10), Emily (9), Elizabeth (5), Harry (3) and Ann (1). A
ccompanying documents include baptismal and marriage certificates, the latter showing that Emily's father, James Artis, of Warntham, was a bricklayer, while Thomas's father, William, was
also a Yarmouth sea captain; strangely, Emily's birth certificate gives her father's name as Joseph Artis. Many of the seamen fought or were taken prisoner during the Napoleonic Wars.

Put together all these records and we have, not just names on a piece of paper, but the beginning of bringing our ancestors back to life. However to make the picture even richer British Origins is augmented by a wonderful gallery, containing rare 19th century books, photographs, maps and gazetteers.

In addition to British Origins, The Origins Network also offers unique Irish genealogy collections via Irish Origins ( including census records, wills, military papers, Irish/USA emigration boat passenger lists, town plans, and more, as well as an Irish gallery featuring books,
photos, maps and other rich vintage material from Ireland.

With all this information on line it is increasingly easy to make your ancestors become real people. We can build up a legacy to pass on to future generations from our armchair.

About The Origins Network (

The Origins Network (formerly, specialists in British and Irish genealogy, was founded in 1997 and offers online access to some of the richest ancestral information available for genealogy research at

Origins Network services include subscription access to exclusive English genealogy related collections on British Origins ( and to Irish genealogy related collections on Irish Origins (, expert Scottish Old Parish records
research on Scots Origins (, plus Free access to a state-of-the-art specialized search engine for genealogy, Origin Search (

Genealogical data unique to The Origins Network includes Irish and English census records (including exclusive access to the 1841 English census - England's first), marriage registers, wills, valuation records, emigration passenger lists, court and apprentice records, as well as images such as original survey maps and vintage photographs. Most of this information is not available anywhere else on the internet.

Partnerships with leading archives and genealogical societies in the UK and Ireland, including the Society of Genealogists, Eneclann Ltd, The National Library of Ireland, and the Borthwick Institute for Archives, allow The Origins Network to provide exclusive online access to key sources, with an increasing emphasis on access to primary records, and to material which puts the "flesh on your ancestors bones."

For all enquiries, please contact:
Jane Hewitt, Origins Network, 12 Greenhill Rents, London, UK EC1M 6BN - phone: +44 (0)207 2516117

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