Today Findmypast published indexes and digitised images of the 1921  Census of England & Wales.

The census was taken on 19 June 1921. Thirty-eight million people in eight and a half million households were surveyed. Household by household the census recorded the number of rooms, the occupants’ age, birthplace, occupation and usual residence, their place of work, and their employer. For the first time the census gave ‘divorced’ as an option for marital status.

To try it out I searched the Findmypast 1921 census records for my great  great uncle, James Gordon Cavenagh-Mainwaring (1865-1938), whom I knew  was living in England at the time.

Screenshot of search results from FindMyPast

Only six people were recorded with that surname, all of them in the same household: Gordon, his wife and their four children. The return for their household has these six family members and two young servants. Their house had 14 rooms.

Image of 1921 census return for James Gordon Cavenagh Mainwaring retrieved from FindMyPast: Archive series RG 15 Piece number 12175 Schedule number 117 Schedule type code E Schedule type 
England household, single page, 10 entries District reference RD 333 RS 2 ED 38

The address is not given, so I downloaded a copy of the original transcript. It was recorded as Poolmore Lodge, St Georges Road, Cheltenham. The transcript came with a useful historical map.

Historical map provided with the 1921 census result for JG Cavenagh-Mainwaring

The transcript did contain some minor errors, for example St Georges Road had been mis transcribed in one instance as “Nr Gloyes Road”, and the person making the return was “Major Maireveaing”.

Linked to the main image of the return were extra materials which were related images:

  • the front of the return which had the address and the name of the person making the return
  • the cover of the book containing the return
  • census collector pages
    • a map of the district (in this instance noted as wanting at the time the records were transferred to the Public Record Office in 1977)
    • notes describing the district – the boundary and streets within the district

A search on Google  gives no results for Poolmore Lodge, but Google streetview shows that though some houses in the area appear to date from 1921 there has also  been some redevelopment: the Cavenagh-Mainwaring house probably no longer exists. (Update Have found Portmore Lodge was mis transcribed – see later post Portmore Lodge, Cheltenham. Coincidentally the house appears in the Google street view I screenshotted – it is the darker house one house in from the right.)

Google Streetview of St Georges Road, Cheltenham.

To recover the costs of digitisation and indexing, Findmypast charges  for retrieving records. It cost me AU$5.94 to view the image and another AU$4.32 for the transcript.

Looking at the English census household return gave me a good sense of James Gordon Cavenagh-Mainwaring’s family at that time. Unfortunately this sort of information is not available in Australia, where individual census returns are destroyed. By 1921 most of my family lived in Australia, but so far as census records are concerned I now know a little more about my English uncle.