THE FREECEN Census Project

FreeCEN's  aim is to provide a free-to-view on-line searchable
database  of the census returns for the whole country. 
This page shows the Index of the Counties I am presently looking after.
Volunteers from all over the world are transcribing the census 
from the CD's  freely loaned  by the LDS  
into a specially written database. 
Without the volunteers invaluable support this project would not exist.


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Updated 01 July, 2015

Click here to go to the Index Page

The routine that will be used to convert the Spreadsheet to the FREECEN standard will also ensure that Upper Case is applied where required.

It is suggested that all data entry can be made using Lower Case - let the routine take care of Capitals where they are needed.

This Fields Document helps you of what to type into each Column of the Spreadsheet  when you are a Transcriber.
It also helps the Checker and Validator as well.


Column letter:

"Field" name
Description & Rules

Header Information

Column A


Civil Parish


Up to 20 characters
This information is found top-left of each Census Page and is normally constant for an Enumerator.
Do not confuse with Ecclesiastic Parish which is at the right of this row

Column B





Up to three numerals + one optional suffix
This will be identified at the first page of the introductory pages to each Census District.

  If there is no identifiable Enumerator Number then use zero.
    Note that "Enumerator =1" may not necessarily be the first District of a Census Piece.

The suffix will be necessary if:

  indicated alongside the Enumeration on the first page (as above)
  Institutions and Shipping

NOTE: In the unlikely case of an Institution booklet being listed under "Enumeration District "2a" the Enumerator number would be entered as the numeral "2" and the
"special situation" suffix added as below.



"Institutions & Shipping"

Certain categories may feature in a Piece but are not included on the "normal" returns.
These normally come at the end of the piece as different format reports without record of Enumerator number.
The following number should be used as the relevant suffix

  1. Barracks & Military Quarters

  2. HM Ships at Home

  3. Workhouses & Pauper Schools

  4. Hospitals (Sick Convalescent Incurables)

  5. Lunatic Asylums

  6. Prisons

  7. Certified Reformatory & Industrial Schools

  8. Merchant Vessels & Lighthouses

  9. Schools

    The schedules for Institutions & Shipping should be entered in the normal Folio Sequence
    Example: Since no Enumeration District is identified on the pages Column B should be entered as
    "0#3" (for a Workhouse).
    NOTE the need for the # sign!

    There will be no Schedule Numbers: Use "0" (zero)
    For Merchant Vessels there may be no Page Numbers: Use
    "0" (zero)

    Some Institutions used a booklet in which each page has the individual lines numbered from 1 to 25:
    DO NOT type these numbers anywhere.

    "Relationship to Head" should follow the census detail (e.g. 'Passenger') with any qualifying details (e.g. 'Master's Wife') being included in the Occupation field (Column Q) if room or entered in the Notes field (Column Y).

    Note that for some Institutions it is not possible to maintain 'normal' family grouping; for example a Lighthouse Station which lists the staff first and then the various wives and children.

Column C


####a Up to four numerals + one alpha-suffix
This is the number hand-stamped at the top right-hand corner of every odd-numbered page
Folio Numbers start from
1 at the beginning of a Piece and progressively increase regardless of changes to the Enumeration District
Sometimes pages were missed (the number may have been pencilled in later) or even whole books may not have been numbered.
Suffix letters are very rarely found.

If a Folio Number is missing from its normal position DO NOT type zero EXCEPT for the first Folio position of a Piece.

Column D




#### Up to four numerals
The Page Number is pre-printed on the Census Pages (except for Shipping Schedules) and generally found top-right corner
Schedule & Address Details

Column E

Schedule Number ###a Up to three numerals + one optional suffix
This is the first column on most census pages except for the 1841 census and on Institution & Shipping returns where Schedule numbers were not used.
A suffix is entered only if present on the Census page

A value MUST be entered in Column E for every New Household or empty premises.
If no other value can be found then type a zero.

In the conversion routine this column provides the 'trigger' to recognise each separate household or building.
Care should be taken if the Enumerator has entered two separate families each with its own "Head" under a single address - the second family should be entered as Schedule=0

All Schedule Numbers must be accounted for (see also under Column H)
Column F House
###a Up to four numerals + one optional suffix
On the census page this is in the second column associated with the street name

Column G

(hyphen '-')
Up to thirty alpha/numeric characters
Address must be copied precisely - even if it looks wrong!
Abbreviation as St Rd Terr etc will be acceptable.
Supplementary information should follow the Street Name (as in "High St Anchor Hotel"}
Column H Query
Special Use

One character (b n u v or x if needed).
Any other entry will be rejected at conversion as "invalid"
Column H may be set with an
x to indicate that you have doubts about the interpretation of any of the columns from E to G.
A brief comment in Column Y should explain the nature of your doubts e.g. "house

Column H may alternatively contain one of b u v or n

  • use b if this is shown in Column 4 of the Census Sheet
  • use u if this is shown in Column 4 of the Census Sheet (Unoccupied)
  • use v if the Census Sheet indicates "family away or visiting"
  • use n to show that the Census Sheet is missing specific Schedule Numbers
    (This proves the omission to be on the Census not made at the Transcription!)
  • 'n' should also be used in case of deleted items as for a note on the Census
    "Three schedules numbered for the Light House not required being provided with a schedule from the Trinity Board".
    (Type the address as "Light House" and Column H as 'n'

Where b u v or n have been entered in Column H any data entered in Columns I to X will be rejected.
A comment may be entered in Column Y if there is a Query regarding the schedule or address entries


Personal Details

Column I

(hyphen '-')

Up to twentyfour characters
Surname must be copied precisely - even if it looks wrong or is known to be wrong!

A name or hyphen MUST be entered in every cell in this Column
Take care if using "Cut & Paste" or "Fill Down" spreadsheet tools!


Column J Forename (s) Default
(hyphen '-')

Up to twenty-four characters

Forenames must be copied precisely - even if known to be wrong!
Abbreviated or misspelt names are to be typed as Enumerated

A name or hyphen MUST be entered in every cell in this Column

Allow one space between names initials or words.

In the unlikely event of insufficient space being available reduce later forenames to an initial but always spell in full the first name (where known).

Titles are to be typed after forenames enclosed in brackets/braces as in (Rev) (Dr) (Prof) etc.
In an extreme case "Elizabeth (Lady Chalfont)" is covered by this rule.

Column K

Query Blank
or 'x'
One character
Enter an x if you have doubts about the names.
A simple "Forename" in Column Y will pinpoint your query but the X will also suffice
Column L Relationship
to Head
(hyphen '-')
Up to six characters
While short words may be typed in full there are many relationships which will need abbreviation to suit this field.
See list of 
Standard Abbreviations that comprises a table which must be used for such circumstances.
The table will also be useful in demonstrating the principles to be applied if a 'standard' form cannot be found.

Column M

(hyphen '-')


One character
Do not make assumptions!
Enter a single letter m s u or w (Married Unmarried Single or Widowed) as defined on the Census Page.
If the Enumerator left it blank - so must you.
Any other letter will be rejected at conversion as 'invalid'
Column N Gender
M F or '-'

One character
The Census Page has two columns for "Age" Male and Female
FreeCEN reduces this to a single letter
M or F
Do not make assumptions!
If the age columns are empty then enter
- (hyphen)

Some Enumerators were careless writing "Robert son" or "Jane dau" and then filling the age in the 'wrong' column.
In these instances use the gender that matches the relationship

Column O

Age ###a

Up to three numerals + one letter (y m w or d)
A numeric value MUST be entered; zero is not acceptable:
If age is blank or unreadable then enter
Ignore fractions; if the census states "less than 1 month" then enter 1m
Note: no space between numbers and letter!

Standard Rules for Age

  • If only a number is entered it will be converted as 'years'.
    46 or 46y will be converted to mean "46 Years"
  • y (Years) maximum value = 120
  • m (Months) maximum value = 24m
  • w (Weeks) maximum value = 20w
  • d (Days) maximum value =30d
  • If marital Status is M or W then male age must not be less than 14y; female age not less than 12y.
  • Scholars must be between 2y and 17y. Outside these limits a "Scholar" will need to be transcribed as "Student (orig: Scholar)"
Any values outside the above guidelines will be flagged as "Invalid" at conversion


Column P Query Blank or an 'X' One character
Enter an x if you have doubts about entries in Columns L to O.
A simple "Age" in Column Y will pinpoint your query
Rank Profession or Occupation

Column Q

Occupation No Default

Up to thirty characters
Abbreviations are acceptable provided they are un-ambiguous thus "gen dom serv"

Occasionally descriptions may be lengthy: See here for guidelines on

On the other hand the 1841 Census in particular thrives with abbreviations such as "FS" which should be expanded where we are certain of the full meaning  (Female Servant )

Any "ditto" indication relating to earlier occupations must be expanded in full

Column R Employment
E R or N One character
From 1891 the Census the form includes three columns to be marked if the person was "Employer" "Employee" or "Neither".
FreeCEN Transcribes this information into a single column.
Do not make assumptions!
If these columns are all empty then leave Column R empty.

Otherwise enter
r   for "employeR"
e   for "employeE"
n   only when marked as  "Not employer/employee"
If a person is marked for both "employeR" and "employeE": enter r
Column S Query Blank or

an 'X'

One character
Enter an x if you have doubts about the entries in Column Q
A comment in Column Y will be necessary only on rare occasions since this Query concerns only Employment
Birthplace & Sundries

Column T

Where born
Approved Code Only

Three characters which must agree with FreeCEN's sub-group of
Chapman County Codes
This sub-group caters for all GB & Ireland Codes:
Overseas entries are coded
OVB where the person is stated to be a British Subject or was born in one of the British Empire countries of the time.

OVF is used for all other Foreign birth-places.  Use UNK only as a last resort!

Unless there can be no doubts type only what is written on the census page:
"Brighton" is in SSX;
"Cambridge" (with no other clue) could refer either to the city or to any other place in the county.

The 1841 Census requires different treatment since the information is merely
"Born In This County? Yes/No"
Permitted entries will be limited to the Chapman Code for
"this county"
or  IRL -  SCT-  OVF or UNK
Column U Where born
(hyphen '-')


Up to twenty characters
Enter what is written on the Census Page!:
Avoid abbreviating where-ever possible
The only exception permitted would be to rearrange a lengthy birthplace so that the principal town can be written in full at the start of the line.

If for example "Scotland" is all that has been written; you would have "SCT" as the County Code and a hyphen in this column.
If born "Notre Dame Paris France"; then "OVF" and rearrange the place "Paris Notre Dame" (there isn't any more space!)

If you believe it to be incorrectly spelt then put 'x' in Column X and your suggested correction in Column Y.

  The reason for this is that the Validation routine is capable of saving both the original entry and any chosen "correction".
If the place-name is substituted ("corrected") prior to to Validation then we lose this "double entry" facility - and we may have made an incorrect assumption!

Column V

Query Blank or
an 'X'
One character
Enter an x if you have doubts about the entries in Columns T or U
Column W Disability Blank Up to six characters
Strictly the Census asked only "Deaf Dumb Blind"; many Enumerators also wrote such comments as "Imbecile" or "Cripple"
We can record these options with abbreviation as necessary (enter the full wording in Column Y).
"Df&Dm" "Imbcil" "Crippl" would be acceptable
Column X Welsh
One character
Generally left blank except for those returns which specifically ask the "Welsh spoken" question.
Use W E or B if needed (Welsh English or Both spoken
Notes & "Mynotes"
Column Y Notes Freeform Up to forty-four characters
This cell is provided to qualify any query raised and is intended as a brief indication of the nature of the problem


Trouble deciphering any words.

The rule is really if you cannot decipher a word within 30 seconds of looking at it make an educated guess as to what you think it says. 

Type it in and put an 'X' in the query column and in the notes column Y put a very brief note  if you think the Checker will need it.

Remember the rule for transcribing is always 'AS IS'

The Checker will then pick up the Query  "X" and have a look at it   and make a choice.

Try not to use the ? mark if possible. With the advent of different PC systems and different Key Boards used around the world this sometimes causes problems. Just leave the query in Column Y without the need of the ?.


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