The 1881 census was a survey carried out of the population of the “British Isles,” as the census’s field of inquiry was referred to at the time, and was administered on April 3 of that year. In this regard, 1881 census forms had been passed out to individuals and households several days before the census takers were sent around, and people were thus required to fill out questions answering basic questions about themselves and their place of residence.
1881 census information was accordingly collected on such various points of interest as the address of a household and its title, if any; its number of occupants; whether or not an individual member of the household was married, as well as the nature of his or her relationship to the household’s recognized head; and the age, profession, and site of birth of each household member.
In addition to England, the 1881 Census also collected information falling into these various categories from the areas, also under UK political jurisdiction, of the Isle of Man, islands in the channel between England France, and Wales.
The 1881 census accordingly produced two basic forms of documentation, as are of interest to historians, in the form of the initial response sheets filled out by the census subjects, and then the logs made by the 1881 census takers from the various replies they had collected. The former category for paperwork has not survived into the present, but the overall records of answers to questions have survived and are still extant for research purposes.