For those researchers looking for an affordable way to access both census and civil registration data, the UK Census Online site (www.ukcensusonline.com ) can offer a good start point in your online research efforts.
The new site offers access to all the censuses for England and Wales from 1841 to 1911 and available birth, marriage and death indexes for those countries since 1837 (currently up to 2005). Whilst there are cheaper monthly packages available, the UK Census Online site offers the cheapest annual subscription package available.
All of the census data at the site is available as searchable transcripts and high-quality original page images. A feature of the new site is a keyword search facility, available only to subscribers. Non-subscribers can use a basic search, which for censuses provides age, jobs and place of birth in the results for free.
The ability to find an entry by just a few search terms like place or occupation makes it easy to refine a search. You can use the keyword search to find the record of an ancestor much the same way as you would find a website using Google. You enter search terms into one box and results are shown in an extract form.
As you transcribe the whole record, you can see each result’s full details before having to click to view the image, thus saving a huge amount of time trying to read the handwritten entries. The keyword refinement also allows you to have extremely relevant results.
In a comparison with other sites, the UK Census Online offers a number of favourable features. For example, ‘Ancestry’ hasn’t transcribed occupation or the street address in the pre-1911 Census and can’t use as many refining terms. ‘Findmypast’ doesn’t provide the range of options or the keyword search facility. More details can be found here – www.ukcensusonline.com