1841-1911 Census Notes


Knowledge of spreadsheets is not required to view them, nor can they be affected by incorrect use as they are read only. Simply use the find option to search for people, places, etc, or click on the charts and tables at the bottom of the spreadsheet to see summaries of the data. Though I have displayed the spreadsheet by the year a person was born and then by forename, my spreadsheets can be downloaded and and sorted in many ways, for example by displaying the data, by Group, then family, then forename. This method puts all individuals into families, but not just as a family in a single household, it also links all people belonging to that family if they are unmarried children at the time or spouses are living apart from the family at that time.

For those who wish to understand the spreadsheets more fully, a few notes on how my spreadsheets are made up, such as what the various fields mean, ways to help find potential ancestors, etc., may be worthwhile. All my data is taken from Ancestry.co.uk census transcriptions. This is important because, as has been proven, various sources of census are not all the same as Ancestry. All transcribers have to be congratulated on the accuracy of their work and, in all fairness, when I have found a mis-transcription it is only because I know the person or family. The image itself can indeed be interpreted as the transcription in most cases.

Though my spreadsheets are as basic as is possible, largely due to my limitations, they are more than ample to help researchers trace their ancestors from 1911 back to 1841. Having said that, I do feel that a few explanatory notes on why I have used so many columns and the reason for the columns would be helpful.

If you look at any spreadsheet you will find they are all identical. Not all data on the on the 1911 census is included. One reason for this is that it allows all 8 census, from 1841 to 1911, onto a single spreadsheet, which for those more used to spreadsheets allows much greater flexibility in finding your ancestor across all census. A second reason for a common layout is that it is designed so that all the data and information for a single person will fit across two pages of A4 paper in portrait layout, giving the option to print out various sorted methods. There are 29 columns in all, A to Z plus columns AA, AB & AC, all of which have a purpose as will become clear.

Some of the rows, columns and text are also coloured, for specific reasons.

Blue text:- Rows in blue text indicate that although the surname is transcribed as YOXALL on Ancestry.co.uk, the surname has been proven not to be YOXALL. At some point no doubt, Ancestry will correct these errors. Until then it is worth making YOXALL researchers aware of these errors, so they don’t waste time and money following lines non YOXALL.

Red text:- Rows in red text indicate that a link to a living YOXALL descendant to that person/people have not yet been proven or found.

Yellow backround:- Rows with a yellow background indicate that the spelling is a variation of the spelling YOXALL or the spelling is a transcription error of the surname YOXALL. As readers will see, though the spelling isn’t remotely like YOXALL in some cases, the image does look like the transcription. On the whole, transcribers do an outstanding job and I for one have no criticism of them, only praise.

Light blue background:- columns with a light blue background, i.e. ref no., are coloured purely to make it easier for the eye to follow a row of data for a particular person across the spreadsheet.

Census year –  column A

 Because the format of each census is identical, all census can be merged on a single spreadsheet. In order to maintain the original sorting method for all census years, first by birth year, then by forename, the addition of the census year columns allows the option of retaining each census year in year order, if preferred, by sorting first by census year, then birth year, then forename.

 Ref no. – columns B & P

 Each 1841-1901 person has been allocated a sequential reference number, by year of birth, then forename, regardless of the spelling of the surname.  Names that are variations but do not appear as a YOXALL spelling variation, for example TOXALL, are still sorted by year of birth. It is my opinion that as additional YOXALL are added, with whatever spelling, they will continue to be added in the same order, by year of birth then forename. Since many people’s forenames are shortened, wrongly recorded or wrongly-transcribed, etc, the year of birth is more likely to help people identify their YOXALL ancestors from other census details.

These reference numbers are added for two reasons. First it is the easiest way to sort  each census spreadsheet back to its original order after previous sorting.

However, to make it easier for the eye to follow a row of data across two pages (all the data for each person covers the width of two A4 pages when printed in Portrait), I have repeated the reference no. column on the second half of the spreadsheet columns, made it in bold text and coloured both reference no. columns light blue. This makes the columns clearer to see and ensures a reference no. is in view at all times.

Original census information – columns C, F, G, H, J, K, L, M, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z, AA.

 All the information in these columns is as recorded on Ancestry.co.uk images and transcriptions, including any errors on Ancestry at the time of writing.

Source – column D

 This column is for my own use. It shows I have a physical source for this data, which is linked to all YOXALL on the image, and also allows me to locate the actual source from my databse in the case of any queries.

Database reference no. – column E

This is the number generated by my database for each person on every census. By searching the all census spreadsheet using my database number it is possible to find every census where that person appears, either with his/her parents, on their own, or with their own family/families.

Note! Only male YOXALL are recorded on census throughout their life. Female YOXALL lose their surname once married, so they only appear on census where they are recorded as unmarried. However, there are examples of a female YOXALL marrying a male YOXALL. This can be seen in column I, spouse/parents, where maiden names of spouses are recorded, where known.

1841-1911 Individual Parents / Spouse – column I

 By far the most important column on the spreadsheet is column I. Some columns are more than one row of text deep to allow all data to fit across two pages of A4 paper. This column contains details of the census individual’s parents, including maiden names, where known, and database numbers. These details are unique to this project and priceless to other researchers. Where it is a YOXALL widow who is head of the household, her husband and his parents are shown, where shown, with their database numbers where known.  Hopefully this will identify census individuals with their family far more easily and eliminate confusion as to which William / John etc. are which.  It also overcomes the problem of multiple marriages where the children in the household are from different parents, as the individual parents will be shown against each child.

 Preference of name(s) entered in column

  1. Parent(s) of the census individual are recorded, if known, for all male YOXALL and all unmarried YOXALL.
  1.  If married, the details recorded are:-
  1. If male, both parents of the census individual, if known or
  2. If female, their maiden name, the name of their spouse and, if known, the parent(s) of their spouse or
  3. If no parents of either spouse are known, the spouse’s name and if female the maiden name, if known.
  1. If  the census individual is a widow or widower, the details recorded are:-
  1. If a widow, their maiden name, their husband’s name, if known, and parents(s), if known, of husband, (this allows linking to project of all male YOXALL who died prior to census or
  2. If a widower, the name of their spouse, including their maiden name, if known, and parents(s), if known, of husband
  3. ‘not known’ if no details are available.
  1. If parent(s)/spouse are not confirmed, but are possible links, details are recorded as above with ‘possible’ in RED bold text until the link is verified or disproved. A possible link is only added when information has been located which fits the criteria for the parents of the person concerned and no other person has been located within the same timeframe. Possible links are not a guess.
  2. If no parents or spouse of the census individual are known, ‘not known’ is entered in the column.
  3. There are also people on the census that are transcribed as YOXALL but have since been proven not to be YOXALL. At some point, Ancestry will hopefully correct these errors, but for the time being, to avoid confusion, all the data fro these YOXALL errors have been recorded in BLUE bold text.
  4. Where the male YOXALL has multiple spouses, any other spouses prior to the current census, where known, will be recorded. This is a late addition to my spreadsheets and not all multiple spouses are included at this time.
  5. Transcription errors, forename errors or variations, ext are also noted in this column. For example, Henry and Harry are frequently interchanged on different sources for the same person, even abbreviated to Hy.

Note! My database numbers are included for all people. These database numbers can be used to search other census to locate a particular person, whether they are living with their parents, their spouse or on their own.

Image no. – column N

 This is a reference give by me to each individual YOXALL census image, including variations and transcription errors on Ancestry. These images form the basis of every YOXALL on each census year, whilst the image no. allows me to physically check any queries or errors that may arise from my recording of the image contents.

When the spreadsheet is initially set up, I also sort the spreadsheet by image no. then, for accuracy, compare people on the spreadsheet image no. with the actual image to make sure the data is linked to the correct people.

Region – column O

 In order to help study the origin of the YOXALL surname I have used the regional abbreviations for groups of counties as listed on the 1881 census CDs by the LDS. They are helpful to point researchers in the direction of where there ancestors may have lived. They can also be used for mapping the concentration of YOXALL in different counties in different census years.

These codes are common to all census from 1841 to 1911 and dictate my sequential regional individual and family reference codes in columns Q & R.

Individual, Family and Group ref. nos. – columns Q, R, S

 By far the biggest problem facing researchers is how they keep track of who is related to whom. 1841-1911 online census record the relationship between the head of the house and the rest of the household.  It does not record that the Head of the household’s brother may live next door, or that his son may live 200 miles away.  But individual researchers know these sort of facts and therefore the spreadsheets, as information is gathered, need to link individuals to families and families to groups so that the links can be passed on to other YOXALL researchers.

Regional ref.

For those of you who access the huge online original data now available, the 1881 Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS) census was the first digital census available, on CD only. It was compiled entirely by volunteers and heavily subsidised by the LDS. I for one am deeply indebted to these volunteers, whose work has sadly gone unnoticed by most family researchers.

In order to track and verify all the YOXALL surnames, and variations, I have used the 1881 LDS census cdroms, as the basis for linking all the names to each of the 12 CD regional groups, a system I have continued with all other census. By using a 2 letter prefix for each of the 12 regions on the cdroms ref., e.g. East Anglia is EA, plus a suffix letter ‘I’ for an individual YOXALL of a letter ‘F’ for a YOXALL family, it is possible to create a simple coding system for every individual and family on each census.

These Regional prefixes are: East Anglia Region EA
Greater London Region–London–Middlesex LM
Greater London Region–West Counties WC
Greater London Region–East Counties EC
Midlands Region–West Counties MW
Midlands Region–East Counties ME
North Central Region NC
Northern Borders & Miscellany Region NB
South Western Region SW
Scottish Region–Highlands SH
Scottish Region–Lowlands SL
Wales & Monmouth Region WM

A full list of counties covered by each Region prefix can be seen in Chapter 7

Individual ref. no. – column Q

 Where a household has only 1 YOXALL on a particular census, he/she is given a letter ‘I’, for individual, to the 2 letter Region prefix and also a sequential number.  Prefixing this ref. no. is the regional 2 letter code. Thus the reference number EAI04 is the 4th individual YOXALL in the region of East Anglia. Every individual on each census year has their own unique reference no. Note, however, that the codes used are for each census only. They do not link people to other census. This is done by using my database ref nos.

Where the individual is known to be the part of a family in the same census year I have linked him/her to his/her family/group/merged group ref. no., the purpose of which should become clear in the paragraph ‘Linking’.

Family ref. no. – column R

 Next is the family reference no., where groups of more than one YOXALL in a household are given the letter ‘F’ for family, a sequential no. and a prefix of 2 letters for the region.  Thus MWF53 is the 53rd family in the region of Midlands West. See ‘Linking’ for use of the reference nos. Note that some such houses containing YOXALL are not necessarily all part of the same YOXALL family. They may be cousins, stepbrothers or stepsisters, or even unrelated.

Group ref no. – column S

 This column can have one of 3 types of prefix, MGP, GP or UL.

MGP – short for merged groups of YOXALL, where there is more than one living YOXALL descendant of this line. As will be seen, the two largest groups by far are MGP03, a Cheshire YOXALL line, and MGP06, a Worcestershire/Warwickshire YOXALL line.

 GP – short for group of YOXALL, where there is only 1 known living descendant of this line and the line does not link to any other YOXALL line to date. There are only 3 such groups at this time and it is reasonable to assume they will merge with an existing group when further information is found.

 UL – short for unlinked, indicating this person, family or families does not link to a living YOXALL descendant or an existing group or merged group. Where a possible link to another YOXALL group or merged group is suggested, both the UL and possible group/merged group prefix is included in case future information confirms or disproves the link.

As can be expected, many individuals and families will, in time, be connected.  Initially each living researcher is given the prefix ‘GP’ and a sequential group no.  When it becomes clear one or more researchers are connected, these groups are merged to form one group no.  The lowest of their group nos. is used as the common group no., and the common group no. is recorded in the ref. group column. For example, the Moses group has many researchers, and the merged group no. is MGP03, since GP03 was the first group no. allocated before other researchers of the line were discovered.  See Linking for use of group nos.

Note –UL can also be a person, family or group that has been positively identified from other census or sources but does not yet link to an existing group or living YOXALL descendant. Where a UL person, family or group have not been identified they are shown in red text and if they have been identified they are shown in black text.

B.Cty – column AB

 Short for born County in county of registration, this column only applies to the 1841 census, where the actual place of birth is not recorded, only the county. It can be helpful to know whether a person was born in a particular county when no other information is available, as it may help eliminate people with similar names, ages, etc but born in different counties. The letter ‘Y’ indicates born in the same county as registration whilst the letter ‘N’ indicates not born in same county as registration.

For example, 78% of YOXALL in 1841 were born in the county of registration, denoted by the letter ‘Y’. In view of the limited mobility of the population at that time, there is a good possibilty they were born fairly close to the place of registration in 1841. This makes a search of parish records less of an impossible task it would seem to be at first sight from the limited information on the 1841 census.

P  N – column AC

 Last but not least, this column allows the spreadsheet to be sorted so that it is easier to identify the few YOXALL in each census whose spouse/parent(s) have not been positively identified plus those recorded as YOXALL on Ancestry but who have proved not to be YOXALL.

As stated earlier, the former YOXALL, possible or unidentified, are in RED bold text and identified in this column by the letter ‘P’.

Likewise, the latter YOXALL, those recorded who are not YOXALL, are in BLUE bold text and identified in this column by the letter ‘N’.

Sorting the spreadsheet by columns P/N, ref. fam., born, will bring together all those YOXALL recorded as ‘N’ or ‘P’, as a family where there are families.

Of more importance to all YOXALL researchers is for them to help me find a spouse/parents for all those recorded with the letter ‘P’ in every census year.


By using all the individual, group and merged group reference numbers above, the relationships of individuals to families and families to groups, living researchers can discover to which particular YOXALL line they belong and, from my list if active YOXALL researchers, who else is researching their YOXALL line.

One other key benefit of my spreadsheet is the way unmarried individuals are linked to their families, if one or more parent is on the same census. When an individual is found to be part of a family, that family’s ref. no. is added in the family ref. column next to the individual ref. no., and a group no. added also if one is known. For example, there is a family of 8 people, 2 parents and 6 children, where one parent and 3 children are away from home on census night. If those away from home are linked to their family, by the family ref. no., when the spreadsheet is sorted by family ref./born (not age) all 8 members of the family will appear together.  Likewise, if the spreadsheet is sorted by group ref./family ref./born (not age), the entire group, individuals and families, will come together as families in a group.

Taking the example family further, there is such a family on the 1881 census, my reference no MWF30, the family of Henry Houghton YOXALL.  On census night his wife and their 3 youngest children were at home whilst he and three of his children were living away from home on census night and thus all 4 have individual ref. nos. The family group therefore is:-


Ref. no. Name Ind. Ref Fam.Ref. Group Ref.
082 Henry H. YOXALL WMI03 MWF30 MGP06
080 Elizabeth YOXALL MWF30 MGP06
233 James Henry YOXALL NCI10 MWF30 MGP06
244 Jane E. YOXALL MWF30 MGP06
265 Henry S. YOXALL MWI40 MWF30 MGP06
316 Anne E. YOXALL MWF30 MGP06
317 Frank YOXALL MWI27 MWF30 MGP06
396 John F. YOXALL MWF30 MGP06

Without a method of linking there is no way of knowing these people are one family unit, in this case MWF30. If a sort by family ref./born is done, you will see the whole family appears as a family unit, and as part of a larger group, in this case MGP06.


There are many ways of sorting but some ways offer more opportunity to find relatives.  Sorting by place of birth can often lead to finding those who have moved far away from their original family, usually to look for work.  As many families baptised their family in the same place, common birth places can often lead to finding other relatives.

When the spreadsheet is sorted by merged group, family group, born, all YOXALL in each group will come together. It is only then can YOXALL researchers realise the YOXALL surname is concentrated in just a handful of groups, MGP03 & MGP06 being the two largest groups. In view of the young ages of many other YOXALL not yet linked to a large group, it does seem reasonable to believe these will merge with larger groups when more information is known about them.

To find possible links where only the first name and approx. age is known, sorting by first name/born is a good option.  Many names can be eliminated by age, place of birth, etc.  First names of family members of possible links can also give clues since many families carry names through generations.  Where possible links have a group no. shown, the researchers of this group can be contacted to see if any of them have a link to the person you are looking for.  If not, they may come across them at a later date and let you know if you leave your name and contact details.

Perhaps the most unusual fact arising from this intensive study of YOXALL is that in 1881, and borne out by earlier census, families who left their believed origin of the village Yoxall moved either North or South. No families have been found with lines both North and South. Those who moved North to Cheshire also moved on to Lancashire, whilst those who moved South to Warwickshire and Worcestershire moved to Gloucestershire. Other census and all the lines found to date support this surprising fact. The London YOXALL line however appears to be a distinct line at this point in time, linking to neither a North or South YOXALL family, even though the line has been traced back to the early 1700’s.

Hopefully the reason for, and use, of individual, family and group ref. nos. will be better understood by the explanations and examples above.

Can’t find your YOXALL on a census?

For researchers searching the census, or in fact any source, original or transcribed, there are three entirely different factors to consider if you cannot find your YOXALL ancestor.

  1. Original sources – Researchers looking at original sources must bear in mind that the names are recorded as either how the submitter spelled the name or the recorder thought it should be spelled, if the submitter was illiterate. Even though the spelling may look odd or unusual, there is usually a rationale in the way the word is spelt. It is also likely the word will actually sound like the surname to the submitter or recorder, however unusual the spelling.
  1. Transcribed sources – These are a different ball game altogether from original sources, and the value of referring to original sources will quickly be appreciated. After studying many original sources myself, I will never complain again about poor transcriptions. Some names transcribed bear no relationship to YOXALL. For example, Ancestry.co.uk has the YOXALL surname as PERSHALL, LOVALL, LORDALL, GOMALL, TONALL. As with original sources, it is only the personal knowledge of Yoxall researchers that will allow them to identify such wrongly transcribed surnames.

Examples of such errors found on Ancestry.co.uk include the following:


From the originals of these transcriptions it is usually easy to see how the transcribers thought the name was other than YOXALL. All they have to go on is what they see, and reference to perhaps names they are familiar with, rather than listening to the sound of the surname as is the more usual case with original sources. This may explain why spellings in original sources look more like YOXALL than transcriptions. Fortunately, there are many ways to help find elusive people.

Most people searching for ancestor already know something about them, the family group, birthplace, approximate ages of birth. By searching with the information they do know is correct, they can improve their chances of success considerably. Remember that in places of birth or census, the place may be recorded as an area of a town e.g Castleton, rather than the town/village e.g. Rochdale.

In the case of Mary Ann PERSHALL, I knew her name was Mary Ann, born abt 1868, Castleton, Rochdale and her mother was Elizabeth, her father Robert. Trying a combination of facts yielded a family group which included Mary Ann PERSHALL, who was in fact YOXALL.

 So, for transcriptions, if you can’t find the surname you are looking for after trying all the familiar spelling variations, forget the surname altogether. Just try combinations of facts that you do know are correct or the above examples of possible transcriptions of the YOXALL surname. And please, above all, spare a thought for the transcribers who, on the whole, do an outstanding job and have my utmost admiration.

  1. Census Enumerator errors


Some more unusual errors are where the census enumerator records the surname as forename or the forename of one person is recorded as the surname of the other person/people in the household. These types of errors are entirely unpredictable and unexpected and can only be found when other information is already known about the person/people being sought. So keep these in mind if you are still looking for that elusive ancestor. Let me give some examples:-

  1. a) Reversal of surname and forename – The 1861 census has a William YOXALL (RG9/2187, folio 64, page 18). William’s name is incorrectly recorded by the census enumerator. It is not a transcription error. The name should read William YOXHALL not YOXHALL William.

Another example is the 1861 census (RG9/1935, folio 12, page 17) where Martha YOXALL is recorded as YOXALL Martha.

  1. b) Use of forename of one person as surname of another person in the household. More by luck than anything else, Lucy (RG9/2187, folio 64, page 18), the wife of the above William YOXALL, is incorrectly recorded as Lucy William, instead of Lucy YOXALL.
  1. Common surnames as possible YOXALL

 There are several surnames that are actually common surnames and the identification as a YOXALL can only be found by someone with the knowledge of YOXALL people / families, birth places or where they lived.

For example, if the surname COXALL is searched for all sources, hundreds of names will be found. However, it is known from the 1881 census that the YOXALL surname was found only in a few counties at this time, Cheshire, Lancashire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire & Worcestershire being the most common. Most COXALL surname occur outside these counties, suggesting any COXALL in the 5 counties mentioned may be possible YOXALL.

TOXALL is another surname that occurs naturally as a common surname. But as this appears mostly in the 5 most popular YOXALL counties, only YOXALL knowledge will identify possible YOXALL.

By far the most difficult surname to spot as a possible YOXALL surname is FOX(H)ALL. This surname is very common in areas of Warwickshire and Worcestershire, the second largest area of YOXALL in 1881. Without doubt, having studied many FOX(H)ALL surnames, the majority are indeed correct. In fact some 1881 YOXALL have been found to be FOX(H)ALL.

So it is important to keep an open mind on surname spellings, as they could be recorded or transcribed incorrectly. By far the best way to eliminate or prove a surname is from more than one source, as it is less likely to be recorded incorrect on multiple occasions.

YOXALL Census Charts & Tables:  1841 – 1911

 Chart 1 & Table 1 – Distribution of YOXALL surname by County of Census

Chart 2 & Table 2 –  Distribution of YOXALL surname by County of Birth

Chart 3 & Table 3 – Distribution of YOXALL surname by Family Group

Chart 4 & Table 4 – Distribution of Married/Widowed male YOXALL by County of Census

Chart 5 & Table 5 – Distribution of Married/Widowed male YOXALL by County of Birth

Chart 6 & Table 6 – Distribution of Married/Widowed male YOXALL by Family Group

1841 to 1911 Census differences

Apart from the 1841 and 1911 census, the data recorded is the same.

The 1841 census was the first full UK census. However, the data recorded is much less comprehensive that other census. In the 1841 census, the age of persons over 15 was rounded down to the nearest multiple of 5. For example, a person aged 19 would be listed as 15, a person aged 22 would be listed as age 20, and a person age 59 would be listed as 55. In practice, many census officials either did not round down at all or only rounded down for higher ages, such as over 20, or (less frequently) rounded down ages below 15. In general, the age of a person under 15 is probably accurate to within a year or two. For persons over 15, any age that is not a multiple of 5 is likely also to be accurate – for example, if a person is listed as 27, he or she probably really is 27 or thereabouts, rather than 25. The area you have to be careful of is persons over age 15 whose age is a multiple of 5 – they may be up to 4 years younger than their census listing shows – so if your ancestor is listed as 50, remember that he or she is likely actually between the ages of 50 and 54. This, of course, does not even take into account the errors made by census officials and family members reporting the ages of others! Finally, if the age of a person was unknown, children were supposed to be recorded as “under 20″ and adults as “over 20″.

Other major differences are that relationships to others in the household are not recorded nor are the actual places of birth, where the person is simply recorded as either born in the County of registration, recorded as ‘Y’, or born outside the County of registration, recorded as ‘N’.

In 1911 the main difference is that extra information for marriage is added. The completed number of years the couple had been married in recorded, making it easier to trace a marriage. Data on the children is also recorded, Total children born alive, Children still living and Children who have died. This helps identify children total number of children in a family, some of who may have been born and who died between census and therefore need to be located.

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