A census is the process of obtaining information about every member of a population. It has been performed from ancient times and continues today by civil leaders, so as to have an idea of the size and composition of the ''subjects''.
== Census ==
==== United Kingdom ====
The national UK census as it is known today started in 1801, partly to ascertain the number of men able to fight in the Napoleonic wars.
The census has been conducted every ten years since 1801 (except for 1941, when the nation was otherwise
occupied) and most recently in 2001. The first four censuses (1801-1831) were mainly statistical (that is, they were mainly headcounts and contained virtually no personal information).
The 1841 Census, conducted by the General Register Office, was the first to record the names of everyone in a household or institution. However, their relationship to the head of the household wasn’t noted, although sometimes this can be inferred from the occupation shown (eg servant). Those under the age of 15 had their proper ages listed, but for those who were older the ages were supposed to be rounded down to the nearest five years, although this rule was not strictly adhered to. Precise birthplaces were not given - at best the birthplace can be narrowed down to the county in which the person was living.
The first U.S. Census was taken in 1790 by the local U.S. Marshals. Census-takers went door-to-door and recorded the number of people in each household, and the name of the head of the household. Slaves were counted, but for apportionment purposes each counted as only three-fifths of a citizen. American Indians being neither taxed nor considered during apportionment, were not counted. The first census counted 3.9 million people, the 2000 census counted over 281 million people.
By law (enacted on October 5, 1978), census records are sealed for 72 years. Thus, the most recent Census released to the public was the
1930 Census, released in 2002.
Indexes to some of the U.S. Censuses have been produced over the years, making the process of searching old census records much easier. Now, some are available online.
== Examples ==
=== UK census 1881 ===
[[Image:Census image 1.png|thumbnail|The Census return for John Martin in 1881]]
==== See Also ====
*[[Recording_UK_Census_data| Recording UK Census data with
GRAMPS]]*[[Recording_Canadian_Census_data| Recording Canadian Census data with GRAMPS]]
== External Links and sources ==
*[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Census Wikipedia Census]*[http://www.familysearch.org/
Eng/ Search/census/ search_census. asp 1880 US census and 1881 censuses of Canada and the UK at familysearch.org]*[http://automatedgenealogy.com Canadian censuses of 1851-1852, 1901, 1906 and 1911 at automatedgenealogy.com]*[http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/archivianet/index-e.html Census Research Tools at the Canadian Archives]