England, Using Ancestry.com and Ancestry.co.uk for English Research

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Introduction[edit | edit source]

Ancestry.co.uk is the British section of Ancestry.com. Both are subsciption sites that you must pay to access.  If you have a worldwide subscription, you will be able to use Ancestry.co.uk under the Ancestry.com umbrella. For ease of reference in this article, you can assume that anything found on Ancestry.co.uk can also be found on Ancestry.com.

Where to access Ancestry.co.uk[edit | edit source]

Many public libraries have a subsciption to Ancestry.com that you may use as a patron of their library. The Family History Library and the larger regional family history centers also have subscriptions.  An individual may purchase their own subscription directly from Ancestry.com.

What is available on Ancestry.co.uk for England[edit | edit source]

Census[edit | edit source]

The 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, and 1901 censuses for England are all available on Ancestry.co.uk. Every name on each census has been indexed. For more information on what can be found on English census records and how they can help you in your research, click here.

Tips for searching the English census on Ancestry.co.uk[edit | edit source]

Although the U.K. Census search page allosw you to search across all years of the English census, you will usually get better results by searching the particular census year.  You can do this by scrolling down the page and selecting the census for an individual year. 

There is no one “right way” to search.  The most important thing is to not give up if you don't find your ancestor right away, and to try many different approaches to finding them.  Here are some suggestions.

  • Pay attention to whether “exact matches” is checked or not.
  • If you leave “exact matches” unchecked, put in all the information you know about the ancestor.
  • Remember that ages as reported in the census are not reliable, so search for a range of years instead of an exact year. Children’s ages tend to be more reliable than adult’s ages, therefore sometimes it is best to find a family by searching for the children instead of the parents.

If you do check “exact matches”, sometimes less is better:

  • Narrow the search by the place of birth or the parish where they were living at the time of the census, if known. Be careful, the spelling may be different than expected.
  • Try narrowing the search by relationships instead.  Search for a child and put in their father and mother's name (be careful though, a parent may be deceased or the child may be living with grandparents or something else unexpected).
  • If you haven’t found your person yet, perhaps it is because their name was incorrectly transcribed in the indexing process. Be creative!
  • Try searching for someone else in the household, sometimes children are easier to find than adults. Uncommon given names can be helpful.
  • Try looking at everyone with that surname (leave the given name field blank) in the parish of residence.
  • Try looking at everyone with that given name (leave the surname field blank) in the parish of residence who is near the age you are expecting.
  • Try looking at everyone with that given name (leave surname field blank) with the paish of birth and approximate birth date as the ancestor.
  • You, as a human being, can scroll through the results and will likely spot the person whose name has been mis-indexed. YOU ARE SMARTER THAN THE COMPUTER!