The Census is a vital sources of information for all social and economic historians interested in the Victorian period. The editor of the Illustrated London news was absolutely right when he wrote in 1851 that 'the numbering of the people at regular intervals is a duty which the people owe to themselves, and to the generations that are to follow them'. The census can be used to study a particular family, or to undertake a total history of a particular street or parish. It is also possible to use it for regional or national studies of subjects such as the disappearance of servants, or the process of urbanisation
The aim of this book is to provide basic information about the census for both family and local historians: how and when it was compiled, what information it provides, where it can be consulted, and how to use it.