One of the main problems with using the 1841 Census is its legibility. Whether you are working with images online, on CD-ROM, or from filmed records, they all suffer from the same problem - the state of preservation of the original records.

The paper in the enumeration books has aged, deteriorating and darkening to something more the colour of a brown paper bag than


FORENAME: It isn't necessary to use a forename, but it will cut down the number of hits. You may use wild card characters or the NameX functions

COUNTY: The county can be selected from this drop-down list, or you can search them all

DROP LIST: A drop-down list of — counties enables you to select the birth county. Unfortunately as the 1841 Census doesn't supply this information for anyone born outside their census county, the field is fairly irrelevant when searching the 1841 Census!

AGES: You can enter your own age range, but remember that ages over 15 years were rounded off

PARISH: Once a county is selected the parish list menu for that county becomes active. Remember the names are parishes and some places will consist of more than one parish

LAST NAME: The surname field is compulsory, so you can only search for people, not places. You can include wild card characters in your search term, but it disables the NameX functions

TOOLBAR: Gives easy access to all the other features on British Origins, including your account details and the useful Origin Search Pro web search engine

HELP: The relevant help topics can be accessed from the links in this panel

NAMEX: You can use NameX to find all variants, close variants or exact matches for both surname and forename fields writing paper. To add to the problem, instead of using ink, the enumerators were instructed to write in pencil which, even on white paper, doesn't provide much contrast. As a consequence, we have records consisting of faint pencil writing on very poorly preserved paper, which doesn't photograph very well, so the images are faint and sometimes totally unreadable.

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