The new 1911 census site offers transcribed text versions, as well as high quality digitized images of the original handwritten census returns - fully searchable by name or address. Searching is free, but transcripts and images can only be viewed by purchasing credits. I was glad to see that credits purchased on FindMyPast.com can be used for the 1911 Census site as well, but was disappointed that my annual FindMyPast subscription package doesn't appear to apply. Paying by the credit could make viewing a single census image (which requires 30 credits) cost as much as £3.48, which is just a little over $5 U.S. dollars. That can get pretty pricey in a hurry unless you know exactly where to find the individual you're looking for.
What you'll find: The 1911 UK census is the most detailed census available for genealogists to date. What's most interesting about it is that it is the first for which the original census schedules have been preserved - schedules written in our ancestor's own hand! The 1911 census records show the name, age, place of birth, marital status and occupation of every resident in a household, as well as their relationship to the head of household. For married women, there are also questions on how long they've been married and how many children were born from that marriage. I was looking this morning at the census record for my father-in-law's great-grandmother, Charity (Pascoe) Powell which listed her 51 years of marriage and 5 children, although this information had a line stricken through it - likely because she was a widow and no longer married.
What you won't find: In order to release the 1911 UK census early, details relating to an individual's infirmity as listed in the census (e.g. deaf, dumb, blind, lunatic, etc.) have been obscured and will not be available for viewing until January 2012. Also, while nearly 80% of the English records are available at launch, a further nine million records of people from the remaining counties of England, Wales, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, as well as the naval and overseas military records, will be made available in the coming months.
The 1911 census also provides an interesting look at life in 1911 - especially the protests surrounding the women's right to vote. Many suffragettes boycotted the 1911 census under the campaign "No vote, No census." One census record reads:
"Sorry that I cannot conscienciously give the information - Qualified for Citizenship, except for being a Woman, the Authorities deny my this priviledge while not scrupling to impose tasks & burdens upon me - I am therefore logical & justified, in common with many others, in refusing the information -Unfortunately, Ms. Capron and the other women of England did not win their battle for equal rights that year, or for many years to come.
Should the Conciliation Bill pass the House of Commons this Session, I will with pleasure give the required information at any later date - N. M. Capron"
Another census schedule even more obviously demonstrates the fired up passions of English women at the time, stating only "No persons here, only women!"
Check out the 1911 Census online for yourself at www.1911census.co.uk.