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Enumerators’ Instructions


On this page there is a large extract from the enumerators’ instructions for each of the following years:

1841 Enumerators’ instructions

Respecting the manner in which Entries may be made in the Enumeration Schedule

After “City or Borough of” write the name, if the District is in a City or Borough: if not, draw a line through those words, or through whichever of the two the District does not belong to.  After “parish or Township of” write the name; if there is not Township in the Parish, draw a line through “Township”; if it is a Township, write the name of the Township and draw a line through “Parish”. If it is Extra-parochial, draw a line through “parish or Township of”, and write “Extra-Parochial” over those words, and after it the name.

In the column headed “Place”, write the name of the house (if it has a name), or of the street or other part of the town, or of the village, hamlet, or extra-parochial place in which it stands, opposite to the mark denoting each house, or the first house in the street, &c., and write “do” opposite to every other in the same street, &c.

“Houses.”— Insert houses uninhabited or building in the manner shown in the Example, writing “1U” or “1B”, as the case may be, in the proper column, opposite to the inhabited house to which each stands nearest. Every house which is unoccupied at the time of your visit and is believed not to have been slept in the night before may be inserted as uninhabited. New houses, not yet inhabited, may be inserted as “Building.” Where there is a row of such houses the total number may be inserted before the letter “B” instead of the separate insertion of each.

By “House” is meant Dwelling-House; and every building in which any person habitually sleeps must be considered a s dwelling-house; but buildings, such as churches or warehouses, or any others, which were never used or intended to be used as dwelling-houses, must not be inserted.

“Names of each Person who abode therein the preceding night.”— Insert, without distinction or omission, every living person who abode or slept in each house. Leave no blank spaces between the names, but enter each immediately after the one preceding it, so that each page may contain 25. Set down one after the other those who have the same surname, beginning with the heads of the household, and put no others between them. As long as the surname is the same do not repeat it, but write “do.” Where there are more Christian names than one, as in “John William,” or “Maria Louisa,” write down only the first.

When the person is a Peer or Peeress, the title may be written instead of the name. The words “Lord,” “Lady,” “Sir,” “Rt Hon.” “Hon,” may be put before the names of those to whom they belong.

If no Christian name has been given to an infant write “n.k.” for not known, as in the Example.

If, as may happen in a lodging-house or inn, a person who slept there the night before, has gone away early and the name is not known, write “n.k.” where the name should have been.

At the end of the names of each household draw a line thus “/” as in the Example. At the end of the names of the inmates in each house draw a double line thus “//”.

“Age and Sex.”— Write the age of each person opposite to the name in one of the two columns headed “Males” and “Females,” according to the sex.

Write the age of every person under 15 years of age as it is stated to you. For persons aged 15 years and upwards, write the lowest of the term of 5 years within which the age is.

Thus — for Persons aged
15 years and under 20 write 15
20 years and under 25 write 20
25 years and under 30 write 25
30 years and under 35 write 30
35 years and under 40 write 35
40 years and under 45 write 40
45 years and under 50 write 45
50 years and under 55 write 50
55 years and under 60 write 55
60 years and under 65 write 60
65 years and under 70 write 65
70 years and under 75 write 70
and so on up to the greatest ages.

“Profession, Trade, Employment, or of Independent Means.”— Men, or widows, or single women, having no profession or calling, but living on their means, may be inserted as independent, which may be written shortly, thus “Ind.”

The profession, &c, of wives, or of sons or daughters living with their husbands or parents, and assisting them, but not apprenticed or receiving wages, need not be set down.

All persons serving in Her Majesty's Land service as officers or privates in the Line, Cavalry, Engineers, or Artillery, may be entered as “Army,” without any statement of their rank, adding “H.P.” for Half-Pay, and “P.” for Pensioner.

All persons belonging to Her Majesty's Sea service, including Marines, may be entered as “Navy.” Adding “H.P.” for Half-Pay, and “P.” for Pensioner.

All domestic servants may be entered as “M.S.” for Male Servant, or “F.S.” for Female Servant, without statement of their particular duties, as whether butler, groom, gardener, housekeeper, cook, &c, &c.

Insert all other professions, trades, or employments, as they are described by the parties, or by others on their behalf, writing “J.” for Journeyman, “Ap.” for Apprentice, and “Sh” for Shopman, after a statement of the trade of those who are such.  “Master” need not be inserted; everyone one will be so considered who is not entered as journeyman or apprentice.

Time may be saved by writing the following words, shortly thus, “M.” for Manufacturer, “m.” for Maker, as “shoem.” for Shoemaker, “Cl.” for Clerk, “Ag Lab.” for Agricultural labourer, which may include all farming servants and labourers in husbandry. 

Use no other marks or abbreviations but those herein allowed. Rank, or any such terms as “Esq.” or “Gentleman” must not be entered in this column.

“Where born — Whether in the same County.”— Write opposite to each name except those of Irish, Scotch, or Foreigners,) “Y.” or “N.” for Yes or No, as the case may be.

Whether in Scotland, Ireland, or Foreign parts. — Write in this column, “S.” for those who were born in Scotland; “I.” for those born in Ireland; and “F.” for Foreigners.  This latter mark is to be used only for those who are subjects of some Foreign State, and not for British subjects who happen to have been born abroad.

Enter the Totals at the bottom of each page as in the Example, and enter and add up all the Totals in the summary on the last page. This may be done at home, and must be written with ink.

The entries in the pages of the Enumeration Schedule (except the Totals) may be written with a pencil, which will be furnished for that purpose. All that is written in the 3 pages following them must be with ink.

N.B. Take care that you enumerate all the Inhabitants of every portion of one Parish, Hamlet, Township, &c., in your District, before you commence with those of any other Parish, Hamlet, Township, &c.; and on completing the enumeration of such place, make no more entries in the page containing the name of the last person enumerated therein, but consider such a page as filled, and begin at the top of the page next following to enumerate the Inhabitants of another Parish, Township, Hamlet, &c., being especially careful first to insert in the column headed “Place” immediately opposite to the first line in the page, the name of the Parish, Township, Hamlet, &c., whose Inhabitants you are about to enumerate.

Please note that the occupation abbreviations given above, together with their meanings, are summarised on our page of Notes and abbreviations.

1851 General instructions to enumerators

Respecting the manner in which Entries should be made in this Book

The process of entering the Householder’s Schedules, in this Book, should be as follows:-

The Enumerator should first insert, in the spaces at the top of the page, the name of the Parish, Quoad Sacra Parish, City or Burgh, Town or Village, to which the contents of that page will apply, drawing his pen through all the headings which are inappropriate.

He should then, in the first column write the No. of the Schedule he is about to copy, and in the second column the name of the Street, Square, &c. where the house is situate, and the No. of he house, if it has a No., or, if the house be situate in the country, any distinctive Name by which it may be known.

He should then copy from the Schedule into the other columns, all the other particulars concerning the members of the family (making use if he please of any of the contractions authorized by his Instructions;) and proceed to deal in the same manner with the next Schedule.

Under the last name in any house he should draw a line across the page as far as the fifth column.  Where there is more than one Occupier in the same house, he should draw a similar line under the last name of the family of each Occupier; making the line, however, in this case, commence a little on the left hand side of the third column, as in the example on page vi.  By the term “House,” must be understood “a distinct building separated from other buildings by party-walls.” Flats, therefore, must not be entered as houses.

Where he has to insert an uninhabited house, or a house building, this may be done, as in the example, by writing in the second column on the line under the last name of the last house inserted, “One house uninhabited,” “Three houses building,” as the case may be; drawing a line underneath, as in the example.

At the bottom of each page, on the line for that purpose, he must enter the total number of HOUSES in that page, separating those inhabited from those uninhabited or building. If the statement regarding any inhabited house is continued from one page to another, that house must be reckoned in the total of the page on which the first name is entered. He must also enter on the same line the total number of males and of females included in that page.

When he has completely entered all the Schedules belonging to any one Parish or Quoad Sacra Parish, he should make no more entries on the LEAF on which the last name is written, but should write across the page, “End of the Parish [or Quoad Sacra Parish] of ------;” beginning the entry of the next Schedule on the next subsequent LEAF of his book. The same course must be adopted with respect to any isolated or detached portion of a distant Parish; which portion, for the sake of convenience, may have been included in his district. When he has entered all the Schedules belonging to any Burgh, Village, &c., he should make no more entries on that PAGE, but write underneath the line after the last name, “End of the Burgh, [or Village, &c.] of -----;” making his next entry on the first line of the following PAGE.

In this way he will proceed until all his Householders’ Schedules are correctly copied into his Book; and he must then make up the statement of totals, at page ii of this Book, in the Form there specified. He must also, on page iii, make up the summaries there mentioned, in the form and according to the instructions there given.

1861 Enumerator instructions


As soon as possible after the completion of the Enumeration —

  1. Arrange the Householder Schedules in the order in which they ought to be entered into the Enumeration Book
    Note: – This order will be indicated by the Schedule Numbers entered in your “Memorandum Book,” prepared in conformity with the instructions:–
  2. Copy very legibly in ink the Householder’s Schedules into the Enumeration Book, in accordance with the following instructions:–

Directions respecting the manner of quoting the Householder’s Schedules.

  1. Insert first, in the spaces at the top of the page, the name of the Parish or Quoad sacra Parish, Parliamentary or Royal Burgh, Town or Village, &c., in which the houses of that page are situate, drawing your pen through such of the words as are inappropriate.
  2. In the first column, write the No. of the Householder’s Schedule you are about to copy, commencing with No. 1; in the second column the name of the Road, Street, Square, &c., where the house is situate, and the No. of the house, or any distinctive Name by which it is known; then enter in the third column the figure 1 for an Inhabited House, and Copy from the Schedule into the other columns all the relative particulars mentioned therein, making use of any of the authorized abbreviations (see below), and taking especial care to class the ages of males and females under their proper columns.
    Proceed to enter in the same manner the other Schedules, up to the last, in strict numerical order.
  3. Under the name of the last entered person in each house, draw a double line, as in the example on the opposite page, to separate the inmates from those of the house next following, and where there is more than one Occupier in the same house, draw a single line to distinguish each Family, as in the example. [Note. — By the word “house” must be understood a distinct building separated from other buildings by party walls. Flats, therefore, must not be entered as Houses. A Lodger, with or without a family, is to be considered an Occupier].
  4. Where you have to insert an uninhabited house, or a house building, do this by writing in the fourth column “1 U,” or “1 B,” in a distinct line, following the line in which the houses occur in the Road, Street, &c. Where two or more houses, uninhabited or building, occur together, enter the total number, thus : – “3 U,” “2 B,” as the case may be.
  5. At the bottom of each page, on the line for that purpose, enter the total number of houses in that page, as in the example. If the statement respecting any inhabited house is continued from one page to another, that house will be reckoned to the total of the houses in the page on which the first name is entered. Enter also, on the line at the foot of the page, the total number of males and females in that page, the total number of Children attending school, and the Rooms with one or more Windows. [The number of School Children and Windowed Rooms is to be reckoned in the case of each family, the relative figures being inserted in a line with the name of the Head.]
  6. When all the Schedules belonging to any one local Sub-division have been entered, write across the page, “End of the ---- of ----”, making the next entry on the first line of the following page.

Persons not in Houses, and Completion of the Enumeration Book.

After having completed the entry of all the Enumeration Schedules according to the above directions, commence a fresh page, and writing across the top “List of Persons not in Houses,” proceed to copy from your “Memorandum Book” the particulars contained in the list of Persons who slept in Barns, Sheds, &c. When marking up the totals at the foot of that page, the column headed “Houses” must be left blank, as Barns, Sheds &c., are not to be reckoned as houses. Then, having satisfied yourself of the correctness of your book, fill up the tables on pages iv and v, and sign the Declaration on page vi.


Road, Street, &c. – Write “Rd.” for Road; “St.” for Street; “Pl.” for Place; “Sq.” for Square; “Ter.” for Terrace.

Names. – Write the First Christian Name in full; Initials or first letters of the other Christian names of a person who has more than one may be inserted.

When the same surnames occur several times in succession, write “do.” for all such surnames except the first, which should be written out in full.

When the name or any particular is not known, “n. k.” should be entered in its place.

In the column “relation to head of family,” write “Head” for head of family; “Daur.” for daughter; “Serv.” for servant.

In the column “condition”, write “Mar.” for married; “Un.” for unmarried; “W.” for widow; “Widr.” for widower.

In the column for age, write the number of years carefully and distinctly in the proper column for “Males” or “Females” as the case may be; in the case of Children under One Year of age, as the age is expressed in months write “Mo.” distinctly after the figure.

In the column for “rank, profession, or occupation,” the following contractions may be used: “Ag. Lab.” for agricultural labourer; “Ap.” for apprentice; “Cl.” for clerk; “Serv.” for servant.

1871 Enumerators’ instructions


Prepared under the Direction of one of Her Majesty’s Principal Secretaries of State.

I. Duties before Monday, the 3rd April 1871.

  1. Having received from the Registrar a written Description of your District, your first duty will be to obtain a thorough knowledge of every part of it. You should make yourself well acquainted with its boundaries, and the precise boundaries of every other local division wholly or partly within it, such as Civil or Quoad Sacra Parish, Parliamentary, Royal, or other Burgh, Village, Hamlet, or other local Division, applying to the Registrar for further information in all cases where you may be in doubt. If you are able to confer with the Enumerators of the Contiguous Districts, and to come to a clear understanding with them, so that no single dwelling may be overlooked, it will be well to do so.
  2. You will receive from the Registrar with the “Instruction and Memorandum Book”:-
    • A Form of Appointment.
    • An adequate number of blank Schedules of every description, including double Schedules for large Households or Establishments, Special Schedules for Public or Charitable Institutions, and Schedules for Vessels, if required.
    • An Enumeration Book, in which you will copy as distinctly as possible the contents of the several Schedules after they have been filled up.
  3. You should carefully examine the Householder’s Schedule and other Forms, and familiarize yourself with their intended use, and the proper mode of filling them up. If at any time you find that you require an additional supply of Schedules, you must immediately apply to the Registrar for them.

Delivery of Householders’ Schedules.

  1. In the course of the week commencing March 27th, 1871, it will be your duty to deliver for each Occupier or Lodger in your District, a Householder’s Schedule. As a general rule, the term “Occupier” is to be understood to apply to the resident owner, or to a person who pays rent, whether (as a tenant) for the whole of a house, or (as a lodger) for any distinct floor or apartment; but instances will occur in which persons who are neither owners nor tenants paying rent, as in public buildings, porters’ lodges, &c., are to be treated as “Occupiers.”
  2. The various compartments on the back of the Schedule must be carefully filled up by yourself, and whenever it is possible this ought to be done when the Schedule is delivered. You will make every effort in your power to fill up with accuracy the compartment provided for the number of Rooms with one or more Windows. In reckoning the number of Windowed Rooms, the Kitchen, if any, must be taken into account; but Windows with a borrowed light are not to be included.
  3. Visitors staying in Hotels or Inns are to be included in the Schedule to be filled up by the Proprietor or Manager; and persons in Licensed Lodging Houses are to be returned in the same manner.
  4. Persons travelling during the night of Sunday, April 2nd, and who arrive at Hotels or Inns on the morning of Monday, April 3rd are to be entered by the Proprietor or Manager of the Hotel in his Schedule.
  5. The following are amongst the cases in which one Householder’s Schedule must be left:-
    1. For a family consisting of a man, his wife, and children; or of parents, children, servants, and visitors.
    2. For a family consisting of parents and children, with boarders at the same table, and the servants of the family, if any.
    3. For a lodger alone or two or more lodgers boarding together, but not occupying the same apartment as the family with whom they lodge.
    4. For an out-door servant living, with or without a family, in a detached out-office or tenement contiguous to a mansion, as in a lodge, gardener’s cottage, or coach-house and stable with dwelling rooms attached. But a servant sleeping in any out-building, and boarding in his master’s house should be included in his master’s Schedule with the other servants of the family.
  6. For every family, the members of which, including servants, &c., exceed 15 in number, you must leave one of the Double Schedules, intended for the use of family mansions, large establishments, schools, hotels, licensed lodging houses, &c. If you find that you have not a sufficient supply of Double Schedules, you may leave two of the ordinary Schedules, or more if needful.
  7. You must also be careful to leave at any Public or Charitable institutions which you may be instructed to enumerate, the appropriate form of Schedule.
  8. Should your District include any portion of a canal or navigable river, you will deliver one o the Schedules for vessels (printed in blue) to the master or person in charge of every barge or other vessel.
  9. On leaving the Schedules, you will afford any explanation, which may be asked for. You should also state in every case that you will call for the Schedule on the following Monday, that the answers should be written in by the morning of that day, and that the Schedule must on no account be lost or mislaid. You will of course take care to observe the utmost civility in carrying this and all your other instructions into effect. In performing this important duty of delivering the Schedules in person, you will obtain such a knowledge of every part of your district, and of the number of Occupiers in every house, as will prove of the greatest assistance to you on the day of the Enumeration.
  10. The whole of the Schedules must be delivered before the night of Saturday, April 1st.
  11. For your assistance in the Delivery and subsequent Collection of the Schedules, a Memorandum Book is appended; and you are to use it in the manner therein directed.

II. Duties on Monday, April 3rd.

  1. Early on the morning of Monday, April 3rd, commence the Enumeration of your District, having provided yourself with (1) a pencil, or pen and ink―(if the latter, blotting paper will also be required), (2) some blank Schedules of each kind, and (3) your “Instruction and Memorandum Book.” It will be useful to take with you also a bag, in which you can deposit your Schedules, arranged as they are collected, and tied up with an elastic band or with string. The greatest care must be taken that none of the Schedules are lost.
  2. You should, if possible, visit every house on Monday, April 3rd; but if at the end of the day any houses remain unvisited, you must conclude your task on Tuesday, April 4th.
  3. In addition to the instructions given in the “Memorandum Book,” the following are to be carefully attended to on visiting each house:-
    1. If the Schedule is given to you filled up, you must examine it to see if all the particulars appear to be correctly entered, and ask any questions which may be necessary to satisfy yourself upon this point; and when any errors are discovered, you must draw a line through the erroneous words without erasing or obliterating them, and enter the correct words over them in the proper columns. You should pay particular attention to the column headed “Rank, Profession or Occupation,” taking care that what is entered under that head is in conformity with the instructions. You should also see that the Christian names of persons described as wife, son, daughter, &c., are consistent with the position of their ages in the columns headed “Males” and “Females,” respectively, and with their occupation, &c.
    2. If on inquiry for the Schedule it is delivered to you not filled up, you must fill it up yourself, asking all necessary questions. You should, if possible, see the “Occupier” for that purpose, and obtain the information from him. In the absence of the Occupier, a member of the family, or any other competent person possessing the necessary information, may supply the required particulars. When filling up a Schedule yourself, you may use such contractions as are mentioned in the “Enumeration Book.”
    3. If the Schedule is lost or mislaid, you must supply a fresh one from the reserve in your possession; number it, and proceed to fill up the particulars as before directed, after which you should read it over to the Occupier or person supplying the information, who will sign it as the foot with his or her name or mark.
    4. You should be very careful that no person alive* at midnight, dwelling in the house or lodgings on the night of April 2nd, is omitted from the Schedule; and that no inmate who was then absent is inserted, except those travelling or out at work during that night, and who return home on Monday morning, April 3rd, all of whom must be entered in the Schedule.
    5. In case of refusal to fill up the Schedule, or to ensure the questions which you are authorized to put, remind the person so refusing of the penalty imposed by the Act of Parliament. In like manner, warn any person you suspect of wilfully giving false information. If the person still refuse to give any information or to give correct information, note the fact in your “Memorandum Book,” and report refusal to Registrar as soon as possible.
    6. You must not omit to take an account of persons because you cannot get all the information required respecting them. If, for example, you can learn no more than that a person had slept in the house on the night of April 2nd, who had since gone away, and whose name was unknown, you must not fail to enter such a person in the Schedule of the house or in a separate Schedule, stating the sex and the probable age, and writing “Not known,” or “N.K.” where the name and other particulars should be.
  4. You will carefully collect the Schedules from every barge or other vessel in canals or other navigable waters (not in ports) within your District on April 3rd, and fill in the particulars where that has not been already done.
  5. Take an account of Persons not Dwelling in Houses wherever you find them, or learn that they have been in your District during the preceding night, noting the places in the Memorandum Book, and using Householders’ Schedules where details can be obtained.
  6. You will enumerate the Houses, carefully distinguishing those inhabited, uninhabited, and building, in conformity with the instruction prefixed to the Memorandum Book, reckoning as a separate House, all the space within the external and party walls of the building, although it may be occupied by several families living in distinct apartments or flats.

III. Duties subsequent to the Enumeration.

  1. The requisite information concerning all the houses and inhabitants of your District having been obtained, your next business will be to enter very legibly the particulars recorded on every Schedule into the “Enumeration Book,” which must be done in strict conformity with the instructions given therein.
  2. Having cast up the totals, entered the “persons not in houses” and made the book as correct and clear as possible, you must, on or before the 8th day of April 1871, transmit the following documents to the Registrar:-
    1. All the Schedules unfolded and arranged in order from No. 1 to the last No., as entered in the Enumeration Book.
    2. Your Enumeration Book.
    3. Your “Instruction and Memorandum Book.”
    4. Your Claim for Payment (a Form for which will be furnished to you by the Registrar).
  3. If upon examination the Registrar finds that you have duly performed your duties, he will append to your Claim a certificate which will entitle you to receive payment for your services according to the scale of allowances sanctioned by the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty’s Treasury.