The 1891 census was conducted for the population then living in England and Wales. In general, nationally based surveys of the populations of the various states included in the overall dominion of the United Kingdom have proceeded over the history of the last two centuries at ten year intervals, and as such have followed from the original starting date of 1801 for the beginning of the practice.
The 1891 census, again like censuses which have been carried out throughout U.K. history, involved forms being distributed to all of the households in the areas being surveyed. In this way, people were expected to fill out the government documents several days before the actual date of the 1891 census, at which time all of the documents were collected by government employees. If it happened that the head of a household was illiterate, as was then not uncommon, then the government 1891 census workers would assist that person with filling in the required details.
These items of information to be addressed through the 1891 census included address and other details of locations, such as the name, if any, of an establishment, as well as the last name of a household head, the number of persons under his or her authority, the relationships of those people, if any, whether or not a person was married, his or her profession, and the place where he or she was born. Moreover, the 1891 census also required that people reveal whether or not they had a form of physical or mental disability.