A Census has been taken every 10 years since 1801. The most recent being held in 2011. The initial 4 Censuses held little in the way of personal information. In the 1841 Census names of individuals, their age, occupation and an indication of where they were born were added, but no detail as to their relationships within a household was recorded.
The 1851 Census was the first to provide details about the individuals within the household, as well as details of their relationship to the head of the household. This format remained relatively unchanged until the 1911 Census. The 1911 Census contained more detail about marriage and numbers of children born within a marriage. It also included more information on occupation and employment.
There had been a general understanding within government that census information should only be released 100 years after the census was taken. However in 2005 the 1911 Census was made available for analysis. This resulted from a request under the Freedom of Information Act in 2005. In 1920 the Census Act came into being which set in law the the 100 year period before release. This means that the 1921 Census will not be released until 2021.
The 1851 to 1901 Censuses for Prescot have been transcribed, and were possible the family tree has been included. The townships of Eccleston and some of Whiston have also been included.
Work is ongoing to complete the transcription for the 1841 and 1911 Censuses.
The 1931 Census was destroyed by bombing during WWII and the 1941 Census was not held.
The 1939 Register
As the war loomed in 1939 it was decided to create a register of the population of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland. This was done in December 1939 with the details of over 41 million people people collected. This was done in a very similar way to a census with households completing forms delivered, collected and compiled by enumerators. The register was used as the basis for issuing identity cards, ration books, etc.
The details are not as complete as a full census, but for the purposes of this site it is being treated as a census. The register has been conserved and digitised and can be found on line.