How to get free access to the 1921 census in Manchester

There is a great deal of excitement amongst family historians awaiting the imminent release of the 1921 Census.

‘It’s actually an amazing document,’ announced Leslie Turner, of the Manchester & Lancashire Family History Society, when recently interviewed by Radio Manchester.

The long-awaited release of the census will come to pass on Thursday 6th January 2022, when Archives+, at Manchester Central Library, make the census available free to view.

Elsewhere it costs £2.50 for every record transcript and £3.50 for every original record image.

Manchester Central Library has been chosen as one of two regional hubs by The National Archives in order to offer free online access to the 1921 census of England and Wales.

If you’re not already a member, bring one form of ID showing your address to the library and they’ll add you at no cost.

The National Archives are the owners of the material while Findmypast are their commercial partners, awarded the contract in order to index, digitise and conserve census material consisting of 30,000 bound volumes. Find My Past will otherwise offer a pay-to-view service to both subscribers to their site and the general public.

What’s the big deal?

The census offers a unique glimpse into our families past lives. The details of approximately 38 million peoples in England and Wales inclusive of approximate age, nationality, marital status, address, who is sharing the property and their relationship, information on whether orphans or divorced, and employment.

What’s more, the next available census, a gap caused the impact of fire and war, the 1951 Census, will not be released until 2052: too late to benefit many of us! The 1921 Census for Scotland will not be released until the second half of 2022.

Leslie Turner went on to say: ‘It’s a snapshot in time,’ and ‘the 1921 Census is going to be really exciting, because it has that additional information about employment. Before it might have said worked at a mill, it now says which mill.’

The Manchester and Lancashire Family History Society, in partnership with Archives+, run the family history help desk weekdays from 10.30 to 3.30pm. It is staffed by experienced society volunteers, whose remit is to freely assist in researching the family trees of visiting members and non-members from all over the world. All the society asks is for people to bring along as much information as they have to assist in the process.
MLFHS have access to a vast amount of searchable family history information they can utilise to assist people further develop their family trees.
The team is ideally placed to offer help and support for those accessing the newly available 1921 Census.
While the service may not quite be able to prove connections to royalty, unlike the popular BBC programme ‘Who do you think you are?’ many people have greatly benefitted from help desk assistance since its opening at Manchester Central Library in March 2014.
Please find more information about this here or read the library blog.
Written by Brian Turner, community reporter. 


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