This information on the 1911 Census was sent out by Ken Nisbet,
Secretary to the Scottish Association of Family History Societies,
and is reproduced here with his permission.
1. The census was held on 2nd April 1911.
2. You cannot scroll through an entire district, only the enumeration district,
or institution you have gone into, whereas in previous censuses you could
go through an entire district by going forwards or backwards and paying the
appropriate number of credits. With this census you would have to find an
entry in each enumeration district and then go forwards or backwards.
An example would be Nairn Parish, which has 13 enumeration districts or
Cawdor Parish, which has 6. This is relevant to those persons doing local
history projects or for doing the history of a street where the street might
fall within 2 enumeration districts. The Free Headers will give you a description
of the enumeration district and can be found on page 2 of the header.
3. In the relationship to head of household column, I have noticed that, for the
first time compared to previous censuses, there are many references to adopted
children with adopted or adpt or a similar code shown; this, of course, is prior to
the official adoption act of the 1920s but appears to be a response to the fertility
columns. There is much greater use of the word step-son or step-daughter.
4. In many cases the enumerator has entered the appropriate code number in
the Single / Married / or Widow column thus obscuring the information written
The codes can be converted as shown below:
1 is a Single Male
2 is a Married Male
3 is a Widower
4 is a Single Female
5 is a Married Female
6 is a Widow
5. The particulars to marriage column have to be read very carefully; they relate
only to the wife of the marriage and will only be found if the wife is present.
If the wife is not present, for example, she is away on holiday, but the husband
and children are present then the information will not be shown.
I found a couple of examples where the enumerator had entered the details
for a widow but then put a stroke through the information.
It relates only to the marriage of the couple living in the household, not their
previous marriages or any illegitimate children that either individual may have had.
An example is:
Alexander Cameron Head 31
Alice Cameron Wife 33 5 2 2
Minnie Cameron Daur 12
Jane Cameron Daur 4
James Cameron Son 1
In this case, Alexander and Alice have been married for 5 years and have
had 2 children born alive and still living from that marriage, Jane and James.
Minnie is presumably a daughter of a previous marriage of Alexander Cameron,
but this cannot be assumed as there are cases in my own tree where the
children from a previous marriage of the wife have taken the surname of
their step-father and are not shown as step-children although in the 1911
census the use of Step-Son or Step-Daughter seems to be common practice.
Duncan Ferguson Head 47
Flora Ferguson Wife 43 20 8 5
Finlay Ferguson Son 13
Annie Ferguson Daur 7
Duncan and Flora have been married for 20 years and had 8 children born
alive; they have 5 children still living of whom two are still living in the same
household as their parents. As there is a gap age-wise between Finlay and
Annie, I might look for at least one of the deceased children in that period.
It also shows that there are three children presumably older than Finlay
who have moved away.
James McKenzie Head 65
Janet McKenzie Wife 55 30 7 5
Janet McIntosh Daur 25 6 3 2
Alexr McIntosh Grandson 4
Janet McIntosh Granddaur 2 mth
James and Janet have been married for 30 years had 7 children born
alive of whom 5 are still living. One of these 5 children, Janet is living
in the same household as her parents.
Janet has been married for 6 years and had 3 children of whom 2
are still living, Alexr and Janet.
Andrew Adams Head 55
Jessie Adams Wife 44 14 6 6
George Adams Son 29
Andrew Adams Son 22
Hugh Adams Son 20
Alexander Adams Son 19
James Adams Son 3
Archibald Mitchell Step son 22
Maggie Adams Daur 25
Kate Adams Daughter 13
Williamina Adams Daughter 12
Sarah Adams Daughter 8
Jessie Adams Daughter 7
Agnes Adams Daughter 5
Andrew and Jessie have been married for 14 years have had 6
children born alive all of whom are still living, that is, James,
Kate, Williamina, Sarah, Jessie, Agnes. George, Andrew, Hugh,
Alexander and Maggie are children of a previous marriage of
Andrew senior; Archibald Mitchell is a son from a previous
relationship of Jessie Adams.
6. The Industry or Service column can be very useful in that it
expands on the information in the employment column.
With those working in shops, it states the type of shop and
for railway employees it quite often states the name of the
For clerks and typists it states the type of office they work in.
For example, Thomas Taylor, age 26, a Railway Surfaceman
is working for the N.B. Railway which is the North British Railway
Company whose staff records can be found at National Records
of Scotland (formerly National Archives of Scotland).
7. The birthplace column usually states the county and place
name for those born in Scotland and for those born in England,
Ireland, Wales it usually just gives the country name.
The enumerator seems to have acted differently in Aberlour Parish,
Banffshire in that he put Devon, Devonport as place of birth for
my 2 X Great-Grandmother and that is correct.
With those born overseas in India, for example, the name of the
state seems to be often given.