A census of population has been taken in England and Wales every ten years since 1801, (with the exception of 1941, on account of war). Personal details, rather than merely statistical information, were only recorded from the census of 1841. From 1851, the details include name, address, age, place of birth and relationship to the head of the household. (The 1841 census asked only for county of birth rather than precise place of birth.) The census returns are arranged in the order in which the census enumerator went about his area to accomplish his task. They are not arranged in alphabetical order of surname, and so require extensive searching. For this reason, indexes to some of the censuses have been made by family history societies.
The original records of the census are normally closed to public scrutiny for a hundred years, so the most recent census to be seen in full is that of 1911. The records of every census from 1841-1911 can now be searched online via www.ancestry.co.uk or www.findmypast.co.uk. Doncaster Libraries currently has subscriptions to both of these websites, enabling library members to conduct genealogical research online at any branch library.
The National Archives also provides a resumé of the main websites through which census records from 1841 onwards can be searched.
Microform copies of the census for the Doncaster area from 1841 to 1901 are available at Doncaster Local Studies Library. To reserve a microfilm or microfiche reader, telephone 01302 734307.
Doncaster Archives has a photocopy and transcript of the 1881 census for the Doncaster area and a microfiche copy of the 1891 census. You will need to reserve a microfiche reader to use the 1891 census. There is also available the name indexes to the 1851 census of the Doncaster area and the 1871 census of Doncaster town, published by the Doncaster and District Family History Society (DDFHS).