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Gloucestershire in the 1881 Census

Search for your ancestors in Gloucestershire in the 1881 Census and discover a detailed snapshot of their life at the time.

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Gloucestershire in 1881

The 1881 Gloucestershire Census collected the following information from Gloucestershire: full name, exact age, relationship to head of household, gender, occupation, parish and county of birth, medical disabilities.

Gloucestershire, like the most counties in the 19th century, experienced significant growth thanks to development within several industrial areas, including coal mining, iron working and railway infrastructure. On the night of the 1881 census, nearly 525,000 people were recorded in Gloucestershire.

Having long been the centre of British wool industry, Gloucestershire also played an important role in the Industrial Revolution, much of which was built on the rich natural resources found in the county such as timber for shipbuilding and coal from the fields near Bristol and, of course, iron. Your ancestors could have worked in a wide range of industrial professions, from wool dyer and coal miner to dressmaker or railway worker. The Severn Railway Bridge was completed in 1879; just two years before the census and in Gloucester, manufacturing railway carriages became a booming new industry.

Your 1881 ancestors were not all about work of course and might have spent time some of their spare time at Gloucestershire County Country Club, watching the famed cricketer W.C.Grace in action.

The city of Gloucester became an important centre for trade and the growing middle class had a significant effect on social and cultural life. The nearby spa town of Cheltenham continued to attract tourists and also developed high quality crafts centres. In Bristol, shipbuilding became the predominant industry, with new docks being built in Avonmouth and Portishead in the years leading up to 1881.

Find Your Gloucestershire Past

Whether you are searching extensive records from the county in 1881 ,so you can be sure to find the piece of the past that matters to you.

To search the censud returns, simply input the information you have about your relatives into our search bar and hit search.

With options to search by name, location, birth place, birth year, location and so much more, filtering out the many Victorian era Gloucestershire inhabitants is as easy as clicking a button.

For example, if you have a relative with the surname Evans who you know lived in the county, just enter Evans in the "Last name" field and Gloucestershire in the "County" field and you will get these search results .

Using the transcripts of the census provided, members can then inspect the original images of the census enumeration books, which will help validate findings and expand family trees.

Notable Names From Gloucestershire

While searching for your ancestors in Victorian Gloucestershire, you may come across certain names that stand out. The Irish priest and historian Beaver Henry Blacker collected an outstanding amount of stories from the his adopted county, some of which were published in “Gloucestershire Notes & Queries”, a quarterly magazine which was first published in 1881. That same year Blacker moved to Clifton, but on the night of the census, he was still living in Stroud with his teenage children.

While searching for your ancestors in Cheltenham, you might come across Gustav Holst .The would be famous composer was at the time just 6 years old and recorded in the census as Gustavus T Holst.

Just two years older, future Arctic explorer Edward Adrian Wilson also lived in Cheltenham though presumably in larger luxury. The census record counts a total of 18 people in the Wilson household, of which 7 were servants.

Search Tips

The original documents will have been given to your ancestors some time in advance before collection on April 3rd.

As illiteracy was still common, third party “enumerators” will have written on many people’s behalf, which could lead to some errors in the transcripts. This makes it of vital importance to check the original images.

Beware other inaccuracies such as wrong birth dates. Our search function allows a margin of error of two years, you can adjust this further if you wish.

There are 524,889 Gloucestershire denizens waiting for you in the 1881 Census, so now’s the time to search for the ones that have contributed to your family history!

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