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1881 Census and 1881 (LDS) Census

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The date of the 1881 census was the night of 3 April 1881.

Census enumerators were assigned a specific area to cover and distributed a schedule to every household in that area before census night. They then collected them the following day, checked the details and copied them into an enumerator's book. They returned the book and the schedules to the local registrar who in turn checked them and sent them to the Census Office. The census information that we see derives from the enumerators' transcript books, not the original schedules, which were destroyed.

Note: two versions of the 1881 census are now available; the 1881 and 1881 (LDS).

1881 Census comprises the census index undertaken by GROS and is structured in the same manner as other censuses on this site. This version links to images.

1881 (LDS) comprises the census index undertaken by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) and is structured differently from the other censuses. Note: This version links to a transcription of the source document only and not an actual image. Viewing a transcript of the 1881 (LDS) census will cost 1 credit unless it has been previously viewed.  

Example of an 1881 (LDS) census transcription

Notes on 1881 (LDS) Census Index

  • the 1881 (LDS) census index allows you to search by name, but also by address. You should bear in mind, however, that the enumerator may have misspelled the address, or recorded it in abbreviated form. For example, Nelson Street, Dundee is recorded in the 1881 census as Neilson St. Transcription errors during the indexing process may also play a part.
  • should you decide to enter a birthplace on the search form, be aware that it may have been incorrectly given by the head of the household, or misspelled or recorded phonetically by the enumerator.

Help with searching

  • Information given in the census can be inaccurate age, place of birth, even recorded relationship to head of household can all be unreliable, either by accident or by design. For example, sometimes a person did not know their correct age or was not always honest about it!
  • Since the census recorded those in a particular household on census night, the person you are looking for may be missing from home because they were living and working elsewhere, staying with relatives, in an institution, hospital, prison, at sea, etc. and either recorded there or not at all.
  • Married women were generally recorded by their married name in the census, but it is not uncommon for the maiden name to be used.
  • A widow might also have reverted back to her maiden name so you should check for both.
  • Children might have taken the name of the stepfather if the mother remarried.
  • The family name may have been altered after immigration to or emigration from Scotland or migration from the Highlands to the Lowlands.

Use the information you find in the 1881 census to further your search.

  • birthplaces and ages recorded can be used to look for the births or baptisms of these family members.
  • names of parents can be looked up in the marriage index.
  • disappearance of an elderly relative or a young child between census years might indicate a death to be pursued.
  • a woman might return to her family home for her first confinement, therefore the given birthplace of the eldest child might be an indication of where her parents are living.

For a detailed breakdown of the information you might expect to find on an 1881 census entry, look at Extracts


You can view a street index here.

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