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Access to the 1921 census

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Caroline Report 3 Jul 2010 12:15

I am posting the following on behalf of Guy Etchells, who successfully campaigned for the early release of the 1911 census for England and Wales.

In times of economic stress such as these, the government might be open to any idea that could generate useful revenue and the 1921 census is one such project.

A way to generate income, provide jobs and boost the economy all at the same time without making cuts. Such a policy must be popular with the electorate.

The National Audit Office report on the release of the 1901 census stated that the internet access to the 1901 generated revenues of £4.5 million by October 2003, less than one year.

In five years that amounts to a conservative sum of £22.5 million and useful figure for even a government to play with.

I would therefore like to suggest a campaign to encourage the government to release the 1921 now.

Now is the time to write to Cabinet Ministers and Members of Parliament and we may be able to obtain a change in policy.

I have added a posting to the new hmg Your Freedom site

If you want access to the 1921 census please visit and add your vote there. Your vote is important please use it.


GlitterBaby Report 3 Jul 2010 12:25

Not something I will be adding my signature to.

Mick in the Sticks

Mick in the Sticks Report 3 Jul 2010 12:32

Are you really saying that we should pay for something which was already financed through taxes and which is public property?

I would certainly support a campaign for a free issue of the 1921 census but much nearer to 1921. Don't forget there are still many living people whjo were born prior to 1921.



InspectorGreenPen Report 3 Jul 2010 13:31


Nice idea, but this doesn't take into account the huge cost of scanning the records electronically and creating the search indexes, nor the cost of providing and running the servers on which to store the data.


InspectorGreenPen Report 3 Jul 2010 13:33

Isn't the 100 year closure something to do with the fact that promises were made by the government of the time to keep the records private for that length of time?


Eddieisagrandad Report 3 Jul 2010 14:23

been there, signed up for that, what a brilliant suggestion.


TootyFruity Report 3 Jul 2010 14:43

If the 100 year rule is in place because of promises made at the time of the census what right do we have to dishonour this promise for our own selfish curiosity?

If so what other promises are we willing to sacrifice along with integrity?

Yes I would love to get my hands on this information but not if promises made in the past to my ancestors are to be broken.

Patience is a virtue.


JoyDean Report 3 Jul 2010 16:44

No, thank you.

I have been grateful for census that has been available, on film / fiche and on CD and in recent years on the internet, especially from the Mormons, but do not wish to ask for release of the 1921 census before its due date.

Thank you for passing this on from Guy; and thank you to Guy for all his efforts concerning research.


Kay???? Report 3 Jul 2010 17:59

There is certianly no reason or gain be to had from early release of 1921 census as there are various records out there that can be delved into,also most have relatives alive today who will have knowledge of family back to that time,,,,,,
also I dont think for a moment an early release would ever be concidered neither would I like to see it,some will still have relatives living,,

1911 has made history by its early release by 2 years of its release date of 2012 which everyone cried for in that without its information they were stuck with family information,,,,now they want the 1921,,,when is enough enough,


Flick Report 3 Jul 2010 23:15

It shows how standards have fallen, when some people today are asking for promises made in 1921 to be dishonoured just in order for them to satisfy their personal curiosity.

There are countless 90+ people living next-door neighbour is 93...........


SylviaInCanada Report 4 Jul 2010 00:13

a promise was made then that the records would not be opened for 100 years

a promise is made now that much of the informaton will not be opened for a certain number of years

would YOU want the promise made now to be broken, as you are asking for the old promise to be broken?

No thanks

I don't trust politicians anyway, and you are just asking them to break another promise!!


Rambling Rose

Rambling Rose Report 4 Jul 2010 00:24

From am entirely personal viewpoint my late mother will be on that census, aged 1,...but if I needed to know anything about her , her birth, marriage and death certificates would tell me, her siblings are also easy to find...I think that is the case for most people, 1920 is 'within living memory' in a way the 1911 was not.

I would prefer to see the promise of 100 years privacy made then, upheld.


PollyS Report 4 Jul 2010 07:27

My Great Aunt was born that year and there is a particular personal detail she is very sensitive about. When I uncovered this detail, which didn't occur would be an issue and I doubt very much anyone else would, she swore me to secrecy.

Now, that information is in the public domain already but releasing the 1921 census would make it much much more accessible to many more people because of the additional variables to search by that at the moment only close family members are privy to.

My Great Aunt doesn't look like she's in any hurry to pop off anytime soon other than catching buses to various London markets (I kid you not) and younger immobilised family members. For her and those of her age group I would not support releasing th 1921 census early.


Samantha Report 4 Jul 2010 07:30

For some people the information in 1921 could be very useful and 90 years on...I don't think I would mind if my government released my details in 90 years instead of 100.

If the law allows it under the same conditions as 1911, then I'm in favour. Assuming today's 90+year olds are still alive in 10 years time, is the relatively bland information contained within going to be any less embarrassing then, than now?

Given the amount of time it will take to have this passed by the government and then the records digitized...we will be even closer to the 100yr rule anyway.

I wouldn't support it just to make money, but I would support the early release of 1921 on the same grounds as I supported the early release of 1911, assuming legality supports the early release.


PollyS Report 4 Jul 2010 07:58

I think it's disrespectful to be dismissive of other people's feelings.

Regardless of how inoccuous one might consider another's personal details, they are their personal details which have been revealed on the proviso they are kept from the general public for 100 years.


TootyFruity Report 4 Jul 2010 08:42

My research is not just about finding names, places they lived,and occupations, it is about the real people that are contained in documentation. People who are in some way related to me and as such I have a responsibility to honour the promises made in the past to these real people.

Society today is too quick to dismiss the past but that does not give us the right to dishonour our ancestors.

I reiterate the point that other sources of information are available negating the need to release the 1921 census early.

Where will it stop?


TootyFruity Report 4 Jul 2010 09:15

I have searched the 1911 England and Wales census since its early release but once the information is out there, there is no taking it back. The last column of the 1911 census has been blanked out and will only be released in 1912 after the 100 years to hide sensitive material. I would have prefered to have waited for its release but could see no value in avoiding it once it was in the public domain.

Scotland is upholding it promise and will not be releasing their 1911 census until after the 100 years.

A promise was made and should be upheld.


JoyDean Report 4 Jul 2010 09:17

Jonesey - yes, I have benefited from it. However, I was content to wait until the designated year for the 1911 census. The blanked out column will not be blanked out then, and I shall probably be more interested in it then than now.

I would be willing to start a petition requesting that the 1921 census be released at the promised time and not before then.

Pat Kendrick

Pat Kendrick Report 4 Jul 2010 09:32

I thought the promise of 100 years was made in 1981.


TootyFruity Report 4 Jul 2010 10:12


It may be hypocritical in now pontificating about the sanctity of the 100 year closure rule but I did not request, petition or rally to have the 1911 census released early and would have prefered for it not to have been released.

I feel that releasing it early reflects badly on the integrity of todays society and shows a lack of respect for our ancestors. Just because 1911 census was released early does not mean all other census's should be too.

Where would you draw the line?