HAVE YOU SEEN... FreeCEN
Each month we look at a useful website you might not know about
Many family historians will have an account with one of the big data providers, often driven by the need for access to the decennial censuses – but if you’re put off the cost, there are some options available. Chief among them is FreeCEN: this site has been running since 1999 at www.freecen.org. uk thanks to the work of legions of volunteer transcribers, under the umbrella of the charity Free UK Genealogy.
Now, though, the site has just relaunched with a major facelift – try it out at https://freecen2.freecen.org.uk. The data behind the shiny new face is the same: currently more than 33 million transcriptions of census records for England, Wales and Scotland from 1841 to 1891 inclusive. While that’s still a minority of the overall census data, it’s the largest collection of its kind you’ll find. If you visit https://freecen2.freecen. org.uk/freecen_coverage, you can see precisely what’s there – for example, many counties have been transcribed 100% for 1841, and there are some complete ones for later years too.
New features at ‘FreeCEN2’ include a members’ sign-in area and messaging system, and the aim is to provide new tools for researchers soon. The old site is still available, but the new interface makes it much more pleasant to use, and brings this fantastic resource properly into the 21st century.