Online 1841-1861 Census Indexes Search - Help Page


What areas do you cover?

Why can’t I find my ancestor?/Help with searching

Who transcribed it?

What are the alternative surnames?

Who added the notes?

Why can't I see the images?

Who added the map links?

Why is it free?

Can you give me more help?


What areas do you cover?

Click here to see the current coverage of our census indexes.

Why can’t I find my ancestor?/Help with searching

A possible reason is that they are not in the index. It could be that we have not yet indexed the relevant parish or census year. Click here to see the current coverage of our census indexes.

It could be, though, that we may have what you are looking for. We have given a number of search boxes but you don’t have to fill them all in. Less is more. If there are no results try reducing the amount of information you give. You could just try the surname or even just first name.

Use wildcards: The wildcard * can represent any series of characters, and the wildcard ? can represent any single character.

Both can be used in any field. Let’s say your ancestor’s surname was Blyth. In Victorian records, though, spellings were very inconsistent, and the surname may have sppeared with our without a final ‘e’. To get around this, try a search of Blyth* and this will bring up all Blyths, with or without a final ‘e’.

Perhaps is a first name is causing some difficulty, for the same reason. Helen, for example might be ‘Hellen’, ‘Helen’, ‘Ellen’, ‘Elen’, ‘Elinor’ or ‘Eleanor’. Searching for *el*n* will bring almost all variations of the name up.

Who transcribed it?

It was transcribed by Graham and Emma Maxwell, the owners of maxwellancestry.com.

What are the alternative surnames?

Sometimes individuals can be hard to locate in the census records because they are recorded under a surname you do not expect. In the Scottish census records, particularly the earlier ones, married women and widows are often recorded with their maiden surname. Also, illegitimate children and step- children can have surnames which seem to fluctuate between census years or differ from that on birth or baptism records. Sometimes, we can determine an alternative name or maiden surname from other research. We have therefore attempted to supply these alternative surnames as a research aid, but of course they are not in the original record and may or may not have been actually been used by the individual concerned as their surname. All information we have supplied is shown in italic type to distinguish it from the information which is transcribed from the original record.

Who added the notes?

In the course of researching either our own families, or clients families, we have discovered information that could be useful to you. We have therefore added notes and links between census years. It should be noted these are not on the original census and are from our own research. It is always good practice, of course, to verify these things for yourself. Again, these notes are shown in italic type to distinguish them from the transcription of the original records.

Why can't I see the images?

Sadly we have not been given permission to share the images with you online. We have however been given permission to post out to you a photocopy and we currently do this for a charge of just £1 to cover postage. We do ask though that if you are buying multiple items, can you add them all to your cart first before going through the PayPal checkout process, as this reduces our fees considerably, enablimg us to continue offering this service.

Who added the map links?

Graham is our map man, he has a great sense of direction and knowledge of the area. He has therefore added links to both modern google maps and the historical maps held by and made available by the National Library of Scotland. Sometimes you will see a note: “general location”. This means Graham has not been able to even make a best guess as to which building or group of buildings the family were living in. This is common in villages, where in early census records little or no information is given as to the street address. If you have some additional information that pinpoints the house, please let us know and we will update the system.

Why is it free?

We began transcribing the 1851 census of southern Scotland over 13 years ago. At that time we were the first people to do so in many of the areas we covered. Since then websites like scotlandspeople.gov.uk, ancestry.com and findmypast.co.uk have also transcribed the census. As large companies they have covered the whole of Scotland or even the UK, not something we can compete with, and our sales of census publications gradually diminished. It therefore seemed logical to make our census available to everybody for free and help people out. We hope our local knowledge and research experience means that our transcription is one of the most accurate available.

Can you give me more help?

If you have an obstacle in your family tree and you need some help, contact us directly, explaining your problem and we will try to assist. Often with our experience and the resources we have to hand, it is possible to solve your problem in an hour or two. What we offer is that we will have a look at your problem for about half an hour with no obligation. We will then then tell you if we can solve the problem and how much it will cost you, and it will be up to you to decide if you would like to proceed.

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