SEFTON L BRAR ES
LOCAL HISTORY GUIDE
CENSUS RECORDS (N.Sefton)
LOCAL HISTORY UNIT (North Sefton)
Duke Street, Formby L37 4AN
OPEN Mon, Weds 9.30 - 8, Tues, Thurs, Fri 9.30 - 5, Sat 9.30 - 1
The Unit holds many sources that may be of use in local and family history
research. Also available for consultation in the Unit are generic works on history
research, both for beginners and for those more experienced in seeking and
using sources. Please note, from May 2010 some North Sefton material may be
unavailable due to a major redevelopment project.
We offer FREE Internet access in all our libraries. You can consult the online
resource Ancestry Library Edition FREE in any Sefton library.
Please contact us for further details: we welcome your enquiries.
The Local History Unit holds the 1841-1901 census records for North Sefton i.e.
Southport and Formby.
1901 also includes Scarisbrick, Burscough, Rufford, Tarleton, Ormskirk,
Bickerstaffe, Aughton and Halsall.
1891 also includes Banks and Scarisbrick.
1881 also includes Bickerstaffe, Halsall, Downholland, Aughton, Maghull,
Lydiate, Tarleton, Rufford, Scarisbrick, Burscough and Ormskirk.
1871 also includes Tarleton, Rufford, Burscough and Scarisbrick
1851 also includes Bickerstaffe, Maghull, Aughton, Lydiate, Halsall, Banks and
1841also includes Altcar, Downholland, Halsall, Lydiate, Maghull and Melling
We also have the 1881 Census index for the whole of England and Wales, on
microfiche and CD-ROM.
We have the North Meols Family History Society’s index to the 1851 census for
Southport and Formby; this also includes some entries for surrounding areas such as
Halsall, Ormskirk and Aughton.
In 1801 the first national census was held in order to provide statistical information on
the population. Censuses have subsequently been held every ten years – apart from
during World War Two.
Census records are only released for public use after one hundred years, due to the
necessity for confidentiality. The most recent census available, therefore, is dated
1901. Census records for England, Wales, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands are
available to look at in the Public Record Office at Kew (London). Census records for
Scotland and Ireland are held in Edinburgh and Dublin respectively. Most early Irish
census records have not survived.
DETAILS OF PARTICULAR CENSUSES
From 1801 -1831 the census returns were only numerical, giving no personal
The first detailed census was in 1841: it shows a person’s age, gender and occupation.
Unlike later census records it does not:
a) state in which parish a person was born
b) give exact ages for people over fifteen years (instead, ages are rounded)
c) give exact addresses
d) record family relationships
1851 -1901 censuses include full name, marital status, exact age, gender, occupation,
family relationships, plus both parish and county of birth. However, for people born in
Ireland, Scotland or Wales, only the country may be given for place of birth.
DATES ON WHICH THE CENSUS WAS TAKEN
1841 6th June 1871 2nd April 1901 31st March
1851 30th March 1881 3rd April
1861 7th April 1891 5th April
SOME POINTS TO CONSIDER WHEN SEARCHING CENSUS RECORDS
1) Census records can be used in conjunction with street directories to help locate
addresses of people for whom you are searching.
2) Members of a family who were not sleeping at home on the night of the census
are not recorded with their family.
3) A missing person in a family group in any of the census records could be
explained by the fact that they were in hospital, prison or in service. Soldiers
and sailors serving abroad would not be included in their home census.