Activity 2: The Runton Census 1851

This activity page provides allows you to analyse the Runton census data for 1851.

To view the data, step through it with the arrow buttons at the top of the panel. The single arrow will move you one record at a time. The double arrow will move you through 10 records at a time. The arrow with the vertical bar will move you to the beginning or the end of the database.

To sort the census data, use the drop-down menus to choose the field and order, then click on Do Sort.

To search the census data, use the drop-down menus and then click on Do Search. You can carry out further searches on your results by using the and option which will then become available. The and option will not search all the census data, just the set you selected in your previous search. The or option will add results from the full data set to your first search.

The Display Chart option will allow you to draw graphs. If you have not carried out a search, it will use the whole census data set. If you have carried out a search, it will graph the results of that search.

Record   of  
Age / Year of Birth  /  
Sort by:
Search    Current searches = 0  

Display Chart of:
FieldRange: to in steps.

To analyse the data, it is important to understand the data structure. It may be helpful to see the data laid out as a table - see the page linked to Activity Sheet 1.

The first five lines carry the data as on the original census forms from 1851, though where a persons 'status' (e.g. married, widow) was left blank, it has been assumed they were unmarried.

The Size line gives the size of the family and the size of the household, calculated from the data on the original census forms. The family size includes children, cousins, grandparents etc.

The Occupation line is a simplified form of the occupation given on the original census form, so that graphs can be drawn. A fuller description of the occupation is given here necessary in the 'Notes' field.

The Birth Town, Birth County and Birth Country fields are as on the original census form. When graphing, you may have a field which says 'Not recorded'. This may mean the enumerator didn't put it in, or some other reason, such as the house being uninhabited. Check the full file linked to Activity Sheet 1 if you need further information on this.

When graphing, you can have up to 200 bars or segments in the graph, but it may then become unintelligible. Use the Qty (Quantity) to show option to control the number of bars or segments.

There are some other specific controls which are best discovered by experimentation. For instance, the Qty (Quantity) to show option mentioned above only becomes available if you've chosen a 'Bar' or 'Pie' chart; a different option is available when you select a 'Histogram' to deal with numeric data.

The system is very powerful if you, for instance, search for specific data, before using the charting facility. To become familiar with how you can use it to build up a picture of the community when the census was taken, print out Activity Sheet 3 , come back to this page and work through the questions.

If you have transcribed a full census data set for a town or village, Poppyland Publishing can make it available on this site. At present we can only accept data sets for settlements in the east of England, east of a line from Spalding to Baldock - basically East Anglia plus a bit! Please contact to tell us what format in which the data is currently held.

Data can be for any of the census years from 1841 to 1901, and if sufficient data become available, we hope to allow analysis across data sets, enhancing its value to historical researchers.