Using England Census data to calculate year of birth

+6 votes
145 views
How and where can we share this information, which may assist people to estimate the year of birth of a person? England Census dates varied, for example the 1841 Census was on June 7th, but the 1851 census was on 31 March. Also, the "ages" of people listed are likely to be more accurate for the Census of 1851 and 1861. Family historians need to understand that the ages given in 1841 Census may be 4 years 'out', because when a person was over the age of 15 years, the age was rounded down to the nearest 5. Thus a 19 year-old would be listed as being 15, and a 64 year-old listed as being 60. This information may help to clarify the apparent anomalies when using Census data to estimate the birth year.
asked in The Tree House by Al Orton G2G6 (7.2k points)
retagged by Maria Maxwell
Thanks for the tip, Al.  Always good to see reminders and helpful information.

"Family historians need to understand that the ages given in 1841 Census may be 4 years 'out', because when a person was over the age of 15 years, the age was rounded down to the nearest 5."

Only should have been rounded down, not necessarily was.

I have come across 1841 returns both with the ages rounded up and with them as accurate, as well as rounded down.

Oh, and with the later censuses, either some people were really ignorant, or being economical with the truth as I have found age discrepancies for people between 1851, 1861, 1871, 1891 and 1901. Usually ladies and usually making themselves younger, but with at least one person, somewhat random.

Cheers

Thank you for the clarification.

1 Answer

+3 votes
I usually try for a baptism for people in the 1841 census. It's not always possible, of course, but it does help pin it down a bit closer. And if you are extremely lucky the Vicar wrote the day of birth on the Register.
answered by Rosemary Jones G2G6 Pilot (224k points)

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