UK Census Online

Where Can I Find The UK Census Online?

Interested to find your UK ancestors? Want to find as much information about them as you possibly can? Well, then you will want to read my guide to the UK census online.

UK Census Online

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What are the best sites to visit?

Here, I will show you both free and paid websites that you can check out.

There are several sites that you can explore and I want to show you the best ones for you to visit.

This post discusses various ways that you can access the U.K. census records for your ancestor within whether they lived in England and Wales.

However, censuses for Scotland and Ireland were conducted separately in these two countries.

So, if you want to find your Scottish ancestor then please check out Scotland’s People website. This is a paid site so you will have to pay to access any of their records.

To discover your Irish ancestor you can visit the National Archives of Ireland. Similar to the Scottish census you will have to pay.

Sources to check out:

Express Your Thoughts Below

Express Your Thoughts Below!

I would love to hear from you.

Free Census Records Online

Whenever I am searching for information about my ancestors I always check to see what I can get for free.

Free Census Records Online

It’s always a good idea to see what you can find without spending any money first.

That money can be better spent on things that will have to be paid for.

Just what free options are available to you?

You can access the U.K. census records through the Family Search website. On this site, you will find images for 1841 right through to 1911, except for the 1881 census.

Family Search Website Review!

You will find on the FamilySearch site that there is a full transcription for 1881.

That means that not only are their images for this particular year but it has been transcribed as well, meaning it can be easily searched by entering your ancestor’s name.

To find your relative for all the other years you will, unfortunately, have to search through the images.

Family Search has millions of records and I have found many records containing my ancestors on this site.

Hit-and-miss but worth checking out!

However, the problem though is that I do not always find what I am looking for.

For that reason, I usually have to go to one of the paid genealogy sites, i.e. Ancestry, FindMyPast, or MyHeritage.

And because only the 1881 census is fully transcribed that means that I have to go elsewhere to easily find my ancestors.

That’s the price I guess you have to pay for the free information.


Since FreeCen was established back in 1999 the number of volunteers continues to grow working on transcribing the U.K. census.


There are even volunteers from outside of the U.K. willing to help with the transcription.

This is a great initiative, to have the U.K. census contained in one database, and which can be accessible for free.

It’s not all there I’m afraid!

However, the bad news is that not all census years are covered though.

With the help of volunteers, the site covers census years 1841 to 1891. So, if you are looking for the 1901 and 1911 census then you will have to look elsewhere.

Another disadvantage of this site is that these census years are not yet fully transcribed.

But the website does welcome new volunteers. Why not offer your services and help transcribe the other census years.

So, if you would like to give back to the genealogy world then why not help them transcribe these records.

For more information please check out their website!

Paid Genealogy Search Sites

To be honest I mainly use Ancestry and FindMyPast. These two were the first genealogy sites that I became aware of when I started to trace my family history.

Credit:   Ancestry

Ancestry and FindMyPast

Sure you will have to part with your cash but you should be able to find what you are looking for on these two sites.

This is because their databases are mostly complete. They have billions of records.

The only reason why I may not find what I am looking for is maybe that there is no particular record of my ancestor in the first place. Take for example one ancestor of mine.

I tried and I tried to search for my 2nd great grandmother Ann Waters in the 1851 census but alas I couldn’t.

I realized that she was just not included for this year after all.

Both Ancestry and FindMyPast offer all of the U.K. census years, where they have indexes and images.

If you are an Ancestry member already then you will be able to link these census images to your family tree that you have built on their website.

* Owain’s Tip *

There is a way that you can access these records for free on both Ancestry and Find My Past.

Why not visit your local library?

I have done this many times and have built my family tree extensively by using my library’s computer and accessing these two websites.


You may also have heard of the MyHeritage website.

I have not used this site myself but I did want to bring it to your attention.

Like Ancestry and FindMyPast they also have all of the census years available for you to search.

You will though need to pay to access these records.

Best Genealogy Sites

Check Out The Best Genealogy Sites!

National Archives UK

To access a census record containing your ancestor from The National Archives UK you will need to pay.

Credit:   National Archives UK

Despite having to pay for this service you will find all of the census years within their collection.

Much more besides census records!

So, if you do not wish to use any of the above-mentioned sites then you may wish to check out the National Archives site.

If you are in England then you may wish to visit the National Archives in person and see the original documents or records.

Not only do they have census records but also births, deaths and marriages certificates, military and maritime records, criminal records, and more.

The Archives are located at Kew in Surrey.

For more information on opening times and how to get there please check out their Visit Us page.

UK Census Online

You can access and search each of the census years 1841 to 1911 on the UK Census Online website.

UK Census Online

However, this is yet another paid service where you can choose from a monthly, quarterly, 6 monthly, or yearly membership.

Not only will you find the index to your ancestor’s records but an image as well.

Access to births, marriages, and death records is also possible on this site. You can combine your membership to include access to these records as well.

Conduct a free search and get this information:

  • Forename
  • Surname
  • Age
  • Occupation
  • County
  • Estimated year of birth
  • Place of birth (town and county)

But to view the entire record you will then need to pay.

If you do decide to pay then I do suggest that you are certain that you have the correct individual and that the person that you have found is your ancestor.

You may be quite uncertain about this if your ancestor has a common name, John Smith perhaps.

The occupation field is a great way to identify if you have the correct individual.

My Final Thoughts

As I have pointed out and explored in this post there are several websites that you can visit to find your ancestors by checking out the UK census records.

There are other sites out there, but I feel that the ones that I have presented here are the best for you to conduct your genealogy research.

The choice though is yours

Try free before you pay!

I do suggest though that you try out the free options first.

What’s the point of paying when you could have saved your money?

So, head on over to Family Search and see what you can find there.

The site is a bit hit-and-miss but I have been fortunate enough to find some things on there.

Visit your local library!

If you do have a local library then why not visit it and go on the computer there. Signing up to use their computer facilities should be simple enough.

They will most likely have a subscription to Ancestry and probably Find My Past. And they may even have a genealogy society where you can get help and advice as well.

From your library as I mentioned you will be able to search these websites for free.

Come to your senses and use the census!

Census records have been a great help to me in building out my family tree. And they can help you too.

They are a great resource for any genealogist wishing to trace their heritage.

I wish you all the best on your family history journey.

What do you think?

If you decide to check out these free genealogy sites then please come back and let me know what you think. I would love to hear from you.

Thank You and Please Leave A Comment

I hope you enjoyed this post discussing UK census records online. If you have any questions or comments then please leave a comment below.

Please share with family and friends if you think this post will help others by using the social media buttons below.

Article Name
UK Census Online Guide
Where can you find the UK census online? This guide will show you both free and paid sites that you can visit. So, let me help grow your family tree.
Publisher Name
The Genealogy Guide
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10 thoughts on “Where Can I Find The UK Census Online?”

  1. HI Owain, thanks for providing all this information for the UK Census. It’s always good to get tips on how we can get some database info for free! I had a look at the MyHeritage website and it’s really easy to get started so thanks a lot for sharing. By adding some family details you can start building your family tree for free! They also advertise a DNA test, is this something you have done? Is it recommended?

    1. My pleasure Craig. We all have to start somewhere when we begin our family history journey. Getting information for free is the best approach but there are times when we will have to spend some cash.

      I have not yet gone down the DNA testing route as of yet but it is something that I want to do in the near future. This type of testing can show me where else that I need to look, or confirm to me that I am looking in the right place.

      Another benefit of DNA testing I see that it is possible that matches will be made with living cousins. This is something that interests men as I have already made some connections and I am looking forward to making new ones.

      You just don’t know where your genealogy research will take you and that’s part of the excitement for me.

  2. Great article! I was wondering if you know how I could find census information or other ancestral records from the UK that date back further than 1741? I’ve traced my family history back to the late 1500’s through family records. But I have no idea how to locate any official records prior to that time. Any ideas?

    1. Hi Toni,

      That’s a great question. When I first read it I thought of Bishop Transcripts. The National Archives but these date from 1745 to 1900. My best bet would be to visit your local archives instead, or where your ancestor grew up and see what they have there. Hope that helps.

  3. GREAT ,
    this article is so informative , i like the way you go by the past history .
    please i will like you to write something about “Africa” too , thank you .

    1. Hi there and thank you for the compliment. Since I started this website I have focused more on the western world. Although you can use many of the tips that I have shared for other parts of the world, such as Asia and Africa. As I do grow the site though I will be concentrating on other regions and countries. Keep checking back for more useful guides and tips.

  4. Wow! This was great! Now you definitely can do anything by online.
    Never forget where you came from is the message of this article for me.

    Thank you for making such an informative post.

  5. This is amazing information! With the influx of new generations looking into their ancestry, this website is perfect! You have so many resources and helpful information. You have provided a gateway to the past! Thank you!

    1. Thank you Angela. There are plenty of resources that we can use to trace our family history. And here on this site you can find many guides on what is available and also how to use them.

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