Manchester Central Library will play a key role in making the 1921 Census for England and Wales freely available to view when it is published online by Findmypast on 6 January 2022.

The census, available via Findmypast, will be free to access online in digital format at Manchester Central Library, one of only two places in the country where people are able to receive this service for free. Ordinarily it costs £2.50 for every record transcript and £3.50 for every original record image.

In recognition as its status as the busiest public library in the country, containing the excellent Archives+ service, Manchester Central Library joins The National Archives in Kew as one of two venues where research on Findmypast can be carried out completely for free. The census will be available on all 130 computers at Central Library. Support will also be available from the Manchester and Lancashire Family History Helpdesk which runs Mondays – Friday from 10.30am – 3.30 pm.

Taken between two world wars, during a period of economic turmoil and at a time when women had just won the right to vote, the 1921 Census will provide some fascinating insights about society and how it has evolved over the past 100 years and will be an invaluable source for family history researchers. All census information becomes available 100 years after the event.

The 1921 census will prove even more valuable to genealogists than other census’s as the 1931 Census was destroyed in a fire. Then, the 1941 Census was cancelled due to the Second World War. That leaves the 1921 Census to set the scene for a key point in history.

It’s also the most revealing record set up to that time – it was the first census to recognise divorce, and to capture people’s employment details. For the first time, you’ll see all the family secrets and surprises that this interwar census brings.

Dr Valerie Johnson, Director of Research and Collections at The National Archives, said:

‘I am pleased to announce this regional hub in Manchester which, along with our own hub in London and one at the National Library of Wales, will offer free online access to the 1921 Census via the Findmypast website.

‘These hubs will offer an important alternative to those not able to log on from home. Without commercial partnerships to digitise these records the alternative for everyone would be to travel to London and work through the papers themselves at The National Archives.

‘We understand the excitement and anticipation of this release and, by making the census available online, we are hugely increasing its accessibility, while also preserving the original paper for generations to come.’


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