Jan 21, 2022

1921 England Wales Census Released

January 21, 2022

The 1921 England and Wales census was released on January 6. Its release hasn’t garnered the attention that the upcoming release of the United States 1950 census has, but it’s an important addition to the available records for England and Wales.


The census is indexed and digitized. It’s available on Find My Past. Although Find My Past is a paid site, a subscription is not necessary to search the 1921 census. You will need to register with the site before you can begin, however. Copies of original images of individual pages of the census can be accessed for $4.90 each. A transcript of a household can be purchased for $3.50. Subscribers to Find My Past will get a 10% discount on these costs.


The 1921 census will not be available for free in the U.S. for at least three years after its release. If you are in England, the census is available for free at the National Archives in Kew and a couple of other libraries.


While the price may seem a bit high, the 1921 census is important because there will not be another England and Wales census released until 2052. The 1931 census was destroyed in a fire during World War II, and the 1941 census was cancelled because of that war. The 1921 census will be our last snapshot of English families for a very long time.


If you have ancestors who were in England or Wales during 1921, you’ll definitely want to look at this census. It will also be useful for those who are trying to trace relatives forward. Anyone who has tried to figure out how DNA matches are related knows how important censuses are for this project.


Since I have a great aunt who was in England in 1921, I spent a little time on Find My Past looking for her and her family. I knew the names and ages of Harry and Georganna Neale and their three teen-age daughters in 1921. I also knew their birthplaces and the county they were most likely living in at that time. This made it relatively easy to locate them. Because I have a Find My Past subscription, I paid $4.41 for a copy of their household entry. I didn’t bother with paying for a transcription of the entry since the actual census page was legible. If the entry hadn’t been clear, I might have paid for the transcript just to confirm my interpretation of the original page.


The process was simple, but if I were looking for a number of people, it could become expensive. Since you pay for only one household at a time, it’s not a very efficient method to search for someone’s FAN club (friends, associates and neighbors). Unless you have a fair amount of information on a person or they have a very unusual name, trying to find someone in the 1921 census could be tricky. Browsing through all of the possible hits could quickly become very expensive.


Once you find someone, the 1921 census can prove to be a great source of family information. Like all censuses, it provides a snapshot of a specific time and place. In the case of my Neale Family, I learned that the three teen-aged daughters had all left school by 1921. Instead of going into service as their mother had done, all three had office jobs – two shorthand typists and a clerk. Although I’d read about how World War I changed job opportunities for women, this census made it very real for my own family.


For more information on the 1921 England and Wales census, check out Paul Milner’s column “1921 Census of England Wales to be Released January 6, 2022.” Paul’s very helpful article describes how to search for elusive ancestors. It can be found at .


If you have any relatives to chase in England, the 1921 census may prove just the tool you need. Good luck with your searches.


Carol Stetser