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Activity 1: The Runton Census 1851 - Data Source

In response to the growing interest in family research, largely made possible by the Internet, a vast range of census data is available on the World Wide Web.

Most of the data is structured in a form that enables us to look up specific family information. This first Activity Sheet is primarily in that form, though we have introduced two derived fields, the 'Family Size' field and the 'Household Size' field. We will make more use of these in Activity Sheet 2. The purpose of giving the census information in this form - which you access by clicking where indicated below - is so that you can see clearly how the data has been structured for the ananlysis you can undertake on 'The Runton Census 1851 - Analysis' page.

The first general census of England was in 1801, but the 1851 census is the first to give the level of detail that enables us to analyse meaningfully the makeup of the towns and village of England. The Runton census records everyone in the village on the night of 30th March 1851.

The Runton census was recorded by Enumerator William Limmer, under the supervision of Registrar Timothy Murrell. Of the 485 persons recorded for Runton, 249 are male and 236 female. There are 107 inhabited houses, and 6 uninhabited. Whilst the addresses for Runton give no more than 'East Runton' or 'West Runton', a little research does help with identifying some of the houses, many of which still stand.

The data used here has been transcribed and slightly abbreviated. Where some doubt on the transcription exists, the original writing has been followed as closely as possible. It would be perfectly reasonable however to make such assumptions as the name 'Burge' in the 'Place of Birth' column being the Norfolk village of Burgh, Beeston always being Beeston Regis, and Hampstead being Hempstead. Certainly many of the respondents would not be able to write or spell, and the enumerator would often make the best guess on what he thought they had said.

Click here to open a separate window with the full Runton datafile. These are the fields it gives.
Parish: This is Runton for every entry
Schedule: A schedule number was given for each house
Address: No street names have been recorded, just the words 'East' or 'West' Runton
Inhabited: Whether or not the property was inhabited.
Forname: The forename of each person in the house
Surname: The surname of each person in the house
Relationship: A 'Head' of each household should have been recorded. He/she would have been responsible for seeing that information given was accurate. This field gives the relationship of every other person in the house to that 'Head'. In this transcription, derived forms have been used, to assist certain types of analysis.
Condition: Whether each person was married, unmarried or a widow/er. The assumption - which cannot be guaranteed to be correct - has been made that every person not recorded as being married or a widow/er is unmarried - again to help with analysis.
Sex: Male or female
Age: The persons age in years. Babies under one year are recorded in months on the original; to help with analysis, they are given as 0 years here
Family size: The number of related person living in a house. This is a 'derived' field.
House Size: The total number of persons living in a house. This is a 'derived' field.
Occupation: The trade of the person, Not every person is regarded as having an occupation.
Birth Town: The town or village of birth of the person
Birth Location: This field generally records the county of birth of the person

Some questions to consider:

Are you familiar with all the 'Occupations' - for instance, what is a 'Cordwainer' and a 'Draper'?

From scanning the file, are there occupations we have today that didn't exist in 1851?

What is a 'Pauper', and how many people are listed as 'Paupers'?

What is the most common occupation in West Runton?

What is the most common occupation in East Runton? Now use the file from the same data on 'The Runton Census 1851 - analysis' page, to see which of these questions the computer can help you answer!

If at any point you would like to check the original written form, the 'Ancestry' web site, a subscription site, has all the forms available.

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