HAVE YOU SEEN... FreeCEN

Each month we look at a use­ful web­site you might not know about

Your Family History - - Agenda: History And Genealogy News -

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.

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