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Then & Now - 1911-2011 census

Above: Census findmypast free access

In March 2011 the last great census took place and schools connected to the National Education Network are now invited to join a project that gives free access to 1911 census records online.
Until the end of the Summer term (July 2011) Findmypast is offering schools free access to research the 1911 census online database. This is a great opportunity to take advantage of broadband provision and join in a census based research project.

Every ten years the census gives government the raw data it needs about the population of the country. This year several organisations, including the South East Grid for Learning, The National Archives, the National Monuments Record, the British Film Institute and Findmypast are combining to encourage schools to look not just at the census for 1911 but at their own communities in 2011.

The census data is kept secret for a hundred years but once made available it provides an exciting way to investigate the history of a family or any locality. In the past it was possible to focus on people who can be named and associated with the houses, streets and villages in which we live. This project will use a much wider range of historic sources to discover more about our own communities.

Schools will be able to put together an online project researching not just the census for their locality but also the broader history of the Edwardian years. The National Monuments Record at English Heritage is providing a collection of over 8,000 images for Edwardian England and also has photographs for your locality in the South East Region through The British Film Institute is providing 80 selected films from the period around 1911 and this is complemented by resources from The National Archives too numerous to mention such as 'What was life like in Edwardian Britain?'.

The SEGfL census website provides guidance links and ideas about how to investigate this wealth of online historical material. Schools will not only research but also record, share and discuss their findings with others, using a selection of online tools including Making the News 2, Making the News Census2011, a dedicated area of the NEN Gallery and other NEN tools.