Some Census Substitutes

One of my favourite starting points when carrying out research are the census returns as this can give a wealth of information and will put it into the context of the connected family members (more often than not!). However, a lot can happen in the intervening 10 year gap, they are only really useful from 1841-1911, sometimes transcription errors can mislead you and sometimes people can be elusive from the census for a number of reasons. So what then?

This is where census substitutes come in. Outlined here are just a few potential sources – there are plenty more. The final list for your own research will depend on the time period in question and your geographical area.

English Lay Subsidy rolls – 1290-1334, these records contain the names of those paying tax (usually the freeholder) arranged village by village. Other lay subsidy records may not be as useful, except for 1524-5. Found in The National Archives E 179 and E 359 or your local County Record Office.

English Poll Tax Books – These provide a list of male adults over 21 eligible to vote covering the years 1377, 1379, 1381, 1513, 1641, 1660, 1677, 1694 and 1698 although not many records survive.Can be found at The National Archives E 179.

Hearth Tax – Scotland -1690’s records of those with hearths and kilns except for hospitals and the poor. They now form E69 of the National Records of Scotland

Hearth Tax – England – 1662-1689 records those with hearths due for taxation and are now held at TNA. There is a great website too.

Land Valuations – Scotland – this dates from 1854. This can tell you the owner and occupation, tenant and occupation, tax due and address. have these records available online

This is NOT an exhaustive list! Please do not comment about what I have ‘forgotten’ as I will revisit this topic in a later blog.However, I am always interested to hear from others on what they have used and found useful…or not!

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