1921 census: discover its stories


Logo of Find my Past

Islanders have the opportunity to hear some of the fascinating stories that have been locked away for the past 100 years in the 1921 census.


The 1921 Census for England, Wales & the Channel Islands is the most extensive census ever available online and was closed to the public under the Freedom of Information law until this month. UK-based online genealogy service Findmypast has acquired the records, which are now available to search.

Although Findmypast is a subscription service, Islanders have an opportunity to discover some of the stories at a free online talk being hosted by Jersey Heritage next Wednesday, 26 January at 7.30pm.

Linda Romeril, Jersey Heritage’s Director of Archives & Collections, explained that historic census records are a key tool for learning more about ancestors and their daily lives as the records contain all sorts of personal information, including ages and occupations. She said: “This is an unmissable exploration of the biggest new arrival in family history. After years spent digitising and transcribing this unique snapshot of our recent history, Findmypast are giving us the opportunity to discover some of the stories and secrets contained in the 1921 census.”

The speaker for the talk is Myko Clelland from Findmypast, who will lay out the historical context of the 1921 census and offer tips for effective searching and how to use the 1921 census to trace elusive relatives and understand our ancestors’ lives better.

To register for the free talk about the 1921 census, go to: www.jerseyheritage.org/explore/whats-on/free-talk-census/

Some key facts about Jersey in the 1921 census

Population – the 1921 census shows that the Island’s total population was 49,701 – 4.2% less than the census taken ten years earlier. This can be explained by the devastating effects of the Great War and the flu pandemic, as well as migration from the Island.

Employment – the census reports show that agriculture was the principle area of employment in the Island, with 34% of men in employment and 13% of women in the same category working in the industry as farmers, landowners and labourers. Carpenters, cabinet makers and construction workers were also popular workplaces for men, with women employed as dressmakers and stitchers.

 

 

 

Transport – the rise of rail and motorised transport can be seen in the high number of railway workers and motor car and omnibus drivers in the Island.

Public administration – the number of individuals employed in public administration in 1921 had risen since 1871, with 346 people employed in the civil service, parish administration and police.

In comparison with other professions, women were relatively well represented in this area, making up 31% of central government and parish administration employees.

Housing – the 1921 census looked in more depth at housing provision in the Island. Individuals were asked how many people were in their family and how many rooms in private dwellings their family occupied.

In 1921, there were 235 families with over ten people in the family. Looking at the size of families and comparing this with the number of rooms occupied by the household, the census shows that 35 families with over ten individuals lived in five rooms or less, with one family of 13 living in just two rooms.

The 1921 Census for England, Wales & the Channel Islands is available to search online at www.findmypast.com/.