Staffordshire in 1881
Taken on 3rd April 1881, the census collected the following information from Staffordshire: full name, exact age, relationship to head of household, gender, occupation, parish and county of birth, medical disabilities
There were more than a million residents living in Staffordshire on the day of the census; with nearly 30 million living in the UK. Queen Victoria was the reigning monarch, while William Gladstone was the Prime Minister.
The United Kingdom was highly urbanised at this time, with two-thirds of the country living in cities.
With household names such as Wedgwood, Royal Doulton and Moorcroft originating from the area, the pottery industry was still highly successful in 1881. More than 8,000 residents list themselves as a “potter” in the census.
The Potteries used to centre around six separate towns: Burslem, Fenton, Hanley, Longton, Stoke and Tunstall, which now are part of Stoke-on-Trent.
Coal mining and ironworking were also important industries in this area during this period. The Cannock Chase Coalfield, founded in the mid 19th century, was a major employer in the region. By 1890, the coalfield was producing more than 3 million tons of coal a year.
Find your Staffordshire Past
Findmypast’s database has in-depth records from Staffordshire in 1881 so you can uncover your family secrets with ease.
To search the census returns, just input the information you have about your relatives into our search form and hit search
With options to search by name, location, birth place, birth year, location and more, filtering through the many residents of Staffordshire is easy.
For example, if you have a long-lost family member with the surname Jackson who you know lived in the county, just enter Jackson in the “Last name” field and Staffordshire in the “County” field and you’ll get these search results .
Using the transcripts of the census provided, members can then inspect the original images of the census enumeration books, which will help validate findings and expand family trees.
Notable Names From Staffordshire
Your ancestors may well have rubbed shoulders with the great and the good in the county.
Living in Burslem was William Moorcroft ,who founded the Moorcroft pottery business 32 years after this census was taken - he was just a young boy of 9 at the time his details were collected
Laurence Wedgwood can also be found in the census (spelt “Lawrence” - evidence of the inaccuracies that could be found in the census at that time.) Great grandson of Josiah Wedgwood, he was a director of the firm until his death in 1913.
Staffordshire would also produce a great composer. Havergal Brian is listed as a six year old scholar living in Trentham.
A Joseph Cook appears in the 1881 census as a coal miner from Silverdale, little did he know at the time that he would end up as Prime Minister of Australia!
The original documents will have been given to your ancestors some time in advance before collection on April 3rd.
As illiteracy was still common, third party “enumerators” will have written on many people’s behalf, which could lead to some errors in the transcripts. This makes it of vital importance to check the original images.
Beware other inaccuracies such as wrong birth dates. Our search function allows a margin of error of two years, you can adjust this further if you wish.
With 1,005,825 Staffordshire citizens waiting for you in the 1881 Census, you’re bound to find an ancestor or two in the county. So why wait? Start hunting for the long-lost relatives that caused a stir in Victorian Staffordshire!
Search Staffordshire by surname