The 1921 Census for England & Wales and Findmypast

On Saturday 22nd January we had Myko Clelland as our guest speaker. Myko is a genealogist and regional licensing manager for Findmypast. Myko first set the scene in order for us to imagine the world of 1921. There had been the pandemic known as Spanish flu; industrial strife and the consequences and awful results for many people because of the War.

The census was supposed to have taken place in April but was delayed until June when many people would have been on holiday which also posed problems for the enumerators.

Myko’s saw his task to help family historians get to grips with researching family members on FMP which contains far more information than previous census returns.

The impact on society affected by the War was significant. There were more women than men in England; three quarters of patients in hospital were men; there were many families with fatherless children and there was more than 2 million disabled men.

The enumerator’s forms were filled in by the head of the household and some even added  comments or even drew cartoons with perhaps a caustic comment.

The census can only be accessed online and there is a cost so Myko suggested that before ordering a record researchers be aware of the ‘preview hover’ button. However, it is possible to access the records if you are prepared to visit the TNA at Kew, the National Library of Wales or Manchester Central Library.

There are differences between the 1921 census and that of 1911. There is much more information such as the relationship, nationality, status, sex, birth place and even references to divorce. A couple of comments given when asked for nationality, ‘I’m a Yorkshireman’ another made was a reference to Divorce being ‘disgusting.’

References are also made to place of work, type of employment and even the name of an employer. There is also additional information provided if someone was staying in a hotel, prison, hospital or even a workhouse.

However, Myko strongly emphasized the need to be fully prepared before pressing any buttons when researching online. Tips such as the ‘advance search’ when looking for links to say, Election Registers and in particular the 1939 Election Register.

Myko’s in depth and very informative talk was concluded by leaving us with this thought – that this could be the last big genealogy event of a lifetime for England & Wales. [ Scotland and Northern Ireland are not covered].

This was a lively and intriguing talk packed with much useful information, advice and tips for the family historian.