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1911 Census

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The taking of the Census of Scotland was provided for by the Census (Great Britain) Act 1910 for taking the Census for Great Britain in the year 1911. The Registrar General for Scotland in 1911 was James Patten MacDougall, who was knighted in 1914, supported by James C. Dunlop the Superintendent of Statistics and later his successor as Registrar General.

This was the 12th census of Scotland and it was taken on the night of Sunday 2 April.

In the same manner as previous censuses, enumerators were appointed to distribute household schedules within their allocated enumeration district. The completed household schedules were then used a reference to complete the enumeration books.

Around 9,000 enumerators with the ability to ‘write well’ were appointed to carry out the Census.

An enumeration district comprised an area of between 200 and 300 houses assuming that the enumerator did not have to travel more than around 15 miles visiting each house. Institutions comprising normally more than 100 people constituted its own enumeration district. The enumerators were instructed to retain as far as possible the same enumeration districts used for the 1901 census and these were approved by the Sheriff Clerks. Thus, the only changes between the enumeration districts that feature in 1901 and those that exist in 1911 are as detailed below:

Enumeration district in 1911 but not 1901 Bonnybridge, StirlingEnumeration district in 1901 but not 1911 Ballahuillish and Corran of Arggour, Argyll Kilmallie, Inverness Duddingston, Midlothian

All people who were alive after midnight on the 2 April 1911 were enumerated.

Persons on board boats or barges, etc., were enumerated if the vessel was within the limits of the jurisdiction of His Majesty’s Customs.

The police were used to help the enumerators take the census for vagrants as well as the enumeration of people who passed the night in barns, sheds, tents, etc. or in the open air.

The Sheriff of Counties and Chief Magistrates were responsible for submitting enumeration books to the Registrar General, but notably they were not asked to submit the completed household schedules. It is therefore assumed that the household schedules were probably destroyed quite soon after the enumeration books had been checked and submitted to the Registrar General.

This was the last census taken prior to the First World War, in which almost 150,000 Scottish men perished. There was also a worldwide influenza pandemic between 1918 and 1919 in which around 22,000 Scots died. Between the 1901 and 1911 census the male population had increased by 11.9%, but so many men died had died between the 1911 and the 1921 censuses, that the number of males in the 1921 census remained around 2.3 million.

The Scottish 1911 Census has been closed for 100 years in accordance with section 38 and 58 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002, which exempts personal Census records from disclosure until after the 100 year closure period.

Differences Between the 1901 and 1911 Census information Provided

The 1911 Census asked additional questions, which are shown below:

  • Number of persons in house
  • Particulars as to marriage
    • single, married, widower or widow
    • duration of marriage 
    • children born alive
    • children still living
  • Industry or service with which worker is connected 
  • Nationality if born in a foreign country
  • Whether
    1. Totally deaf or deaf and dumb 
    2. Totally blind
    3. Lunatic
    4. Imbecile or feeble minded

Technological Advances made with the 1911 Census

Mechanical tabulation was introduced in the form of Hollerith machines, which had successfully been used for the 1890 US census.

The use of mechanical tabulation ensured that the Scottish Census was completed by the end of December 1913. Notably the English 1911 Census, which also used the punch card system though they took the information directly from the household schedules rather than enumeration books, was not completed until the end of December 1916.

Penalties for non-completion

The following, which was taken from the www.histpop.org website, confirms that the penalty for non-completion of the census was a fine up to £5.

Penalties for offences.

12. (1) If any superintendent registrar, registrar, enumerator, or other person employed under this Act, makes wilful default in the performance of any of his duties under this Act, or makes any wilfully false declaration, he shall for each offence be liable on conviction under the Summary Jurisdiction Acts to a fine not exceeding five pounds. (2) If any occupier for whom a schedule is left under this Act -- (a) wilfully refuses, or without lawful excuse neglects, to fill up or cause to be filled up the schedule to the best of his knowledge and belief, or to sign and deliver it as by this Act required; or (b) wilfully makes, signs, or delivers, or causes to be made signed, or delivered, any false return of any matter specified in the schedule; or (c) refuses to answer, or wilfully gives a false answer to, any question necessary for obtaining the information required to be obtained under this Act; he shall for each offence be liable on conviction under the Summary Jurisdiction Acts to a fine not exceeding five pounds.

You can view a sample census page here.

You can view a street index here.

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