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Census Returns


From 1841 census returns were made under the superintendence of the officers of registration of births, marriages and deaths, and the enumeration (counting) was done on one specified day. Summaries of the findings are published as Parliamentary papers, and more recent reports provide detailed statistics on birth and mortality rates, occupations, housing, size of families etc.


For the censuses from 1841 onwards most of the original manuscript returns compiled by local enumerators have survived. They list the inhabitants of each parish by household, with names, ages, place of residence, occupations, and from 1851 parish of birth.

  • Copies of the abstracts of answers and returns for Cornwall, 1801, 1811, 1821 and 1831 censuses (catalogue reference FS 3/862-866).
  • Printed list of questions to be answered by parish enumerators, 1831 census (catalogue reference P 60/16B/1).
  • Summary table of population, county of Cornwall, for individual parishes, with notes on operation of census, 1801-1901 (catalogue reference FS 3/1229).
  • Microfilm copies of enumerators' returns for all Cornish parishes, 7 June 1841, 31 March 1851, 8 April 1861 and 3 April 1871 (120 reels: see Family History Index at the CRO for references for each parish).
  • Index by name, place and birthplace to the enumerators' returns, with transcript as enumerated, 4 April 1881.
  • Parliamentary papers summarising returns for Cornwall, 1881, 1901, 1911, 1921, 1931, 1951, 1961, 1971, 1981 

The census is also available via the Cornwall Libraries subscription to Ancestry.com on the People's Network computers in the CRO searchroom and at local branch libraries.

Cornwall Record Office

Old County Hall

01872 323127