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Proformat News
No: 56
October 2010
October Seminars
: Identifying and dating 19th century photos WEA Centre Adelaide
7:00 to 10:00pm
: Using South Australian resources in family history Payneham Library 6:30 to 9:30pm
: Introduction to FH research (over 7 weeks with sessions of 1.5 hrs each) WEA Centre Adelaide 8:00 to 9:30pm
: Tracing your Scottish ancestors Mt Barker Community Library 1:30 to 4:30pm

November Seminars
21: Finding SA families in newspapers West Torrens Library 1:30 to 3:00pm

See the seminar program for more details and bookings.

"I attended your talk 'Family History on the Web' at the Hub Library last Saturday and again like your other talks, found it very interesting and enlightening. I certainly learnt a thing or two about searching on the internet."

TNA web site update
The National Archives (ENG) has launched a new Labs section in their web site. The idea behind Labs is that it provides users the chance to test out new online systems and resources before they go live on the main web site. They are testing several innovative products on Labs at the moment, including the UK history photo finder, which allows you to view photos from the 1920s to 1940s through an interactive map.

In this issue:
October seminars
November seminars
TNA web site update

Feature article
1841 Census in Australia


Graham Jaunay
Adelaide Proformat

Glandore SA 5037

Tel: +61 8 8371 4465

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1841 Census in Australia
While Britain introduced the census in 1801, the earlier compilation was restricted to a mere head-count of the population to provide national statistics. Some scraps of the householder schedules giving useful information survive and are worth checking. The first census where the surviving material names people in households occurred in the summer of 1841. For details about this particular census and its shortcomings, the reader is referred to the Newsletter Archive where they can locate Newsletter #4.

What is less known is that the 1841 census was an Empire-wide undertaking and local versions of the census are widespread. The content of the material available varies from place to place.

In the United Kingdom the census was taken on a set day but in Australia this was not always practicable and the date on the census should be treated as a guide only. For example in New South Wales the census is recorded as being undertaken on 2 March.

On starting with New South Wales, the reader needs to remember that this colony included today's Queensland and Victoria and well as uninhabited (as far as Europeans were concerned) Northern Territory and that part of South Australia west of Murat Bay.

The legislation required every householder, employer of servants and proprietor and occupier of land to complete the census schedule on the second day ('or on the days immediately subsequent thereto') of March 1841. The census recorded the population by police districts, counties and towns and the findings were presented in table form showing age groups, marital status, civil condition ie convict or free, showing whether they were born in the colony, arrived free, held a ticket of leave, were in government or private employment, and religious denomination. What can actually be found varies between districts with Lachlan and Liverpool having no individual names,

An online index of just over 9000 names can be found at State Records NSW and the opportunity to order the material online is available but to view the material one has to attend the reading room. The LDS Church holds the abstracts of house-holders returns on Films 990720/1 and for the Illawarra District: Film 917873 and the Port Phillip District (present day Victoria): Film 917874 and these can be ordered for viewing online. This material is also available online at and South Australian users are reminded that this material can currently be freely accessed at any public library.

The Tasmanian records for the 1841 census dated 27 September are held by the Archives Office of Tasmania and the Mitchell Library. Unfortunately they are not in the Series CEN1 that includes 1837, 1838, 1842, 1843, 1848, 1851, and 1857 censuses. This index can be searched online and given it includes years adjacent to 1841 may prove just as useful.

In the case of South Australia, the 1841 Census was undertaken over a period of time. Research indicates that Adelaide itself was undertaken before Christmas 1840 while the metropolitan villages were completed by the end of February 1841 and the country districts by Easter. This return is quite limited not only in its coverage but also in its content. The South Australian 1841 Census has been published with permission of the Premier's Department by Adelaide Proformat. The information in this return is quite limited and as a consequence an attempt has been made to add biographical information to the entries. This in turn is limited to the circumstances evident at the time of the census and thus the user cannot expect to find the names, for example, of children born after the census was taken. This material is continually being updated. The bulk of the additional biographical material comes from the following…
   • Register of Emigrant Labourers seeking Free Passage 1836–1841
   • 1840 SA Directory
   • 1841 SA Directory
   • SA Pre-civil Registration Births to mid 1842
   • SA Pre-civil Registration Marriages to mid 1842
   • SA Pre-civil Registration Deaths to mid 1842
   • Biographical Index of South Australians 1836–1885 [BISA]
   • Hotels and Publicans in South Australia
   • Government Gazettes to 1842
The material is available on a CD from Gould Genealogy or researchers can purchase family extracts online. A full index is available online at the Adelaide Proformat's web site and this should be checked before purchasing a copy of the appropriate material.

Western Australia did not participate in the 1841 Census.

Other former parts of the British Empire where the 1841 Census records survive include:
   • Scotland
   • Channel Islands
   • Isle of Man
   • parts of eastern Canada (then the United Province of Canada)
   • Prince Edward Island

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