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Hampshire in the 1881 Census

Search for your ancestors in Hampshire in the 1881 Census and discover a detailed snapshot of their life at the time.

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Hampshire in 1881

Taken on 3rd April 1881, the census collected the following information from Hampshire: full name, exact age, relationship to head of household, gender, occupation, parish and county of birth, medical disabilities.

There were 579,329 residents living in Hampshire 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.

Southampton was a key port in the Victorian era, and became known as ‘The Gateway to the Empire,’ with many emigrants passing through the docks to begin a new life in the United States, Canada, South Africa or Australia.

And, if “Britannia ruled the waves,” in this era, Portsmouth was of great importance. In 1881, Portsmouth Dockyard has just completed major extensions, in order to compete with the changes in shipbuilding technology - wooden warships had been rendered obsolete by modern armaments.

In Basingstoke, days before the census took place, huge riots took place. The Salvation Army had entered the town in 1880 to clean up the town’s problem with drunks. On 27th March, many of the townspeople harassed the Salvation Army on one of their marches, with troops having to break up the clashes, leading to headlines in national newspapers such as ‘Barbarous Basingstoke’!

Find Your Hampshire Past

Findmypast has extensive records from the Hampshire in 1881 so you can explore your family history with ease.

To search the census returns, simply input the information you have about your relatives into our search bar and hit search.

With options to search by name, location, birth place, birth year, location and more, filtering out the thousands of residents of Hampshire is simple.

For example, if you have a long-lost family member with the surname Harris who you know lived in the county, just enter Harris in the “Last name” field and Hampshire 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.

Famous Names From Hampshire

In amongst your relations, you might just find some historically significant figures.

For instance, Lord Kelvin , known in the census as William Thomson can be found visiting the Fisher family in Portsea during the time of the census in 1881.

He was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1866 for his work on the transatlantic telegraph, but is honoured in the name for absolute temperature units after discovering the limit of ‘absolute zero.’

Hampshire would become known in time as the port that launched the tragic journey of the Titanic. Several of those who died on the voyage can be found, but also some that survived.

Thomas Knowles was one such survivor. He can be found in Find My Past’s records living as a scholar in Southampton. He was one of the lucky souls rescued in a lifeboat during the disaster.

Another man associated with a tragic journey can be found in Hampshire.

Robert F Scott ,better known as Captain Scott who died on his trip to the South Pole in 1912, can be found at Stubbington House Boarding School, where he was cramming for his entrance examinations to the naval training ship HMS Britannia at Dartmouth.

Search Tips

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.

There are nearly 600,000 Hampshire residents in the 1881 Census, so what are you waiting for? Search our records to see the family members who made the difference in this unique period in history!

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