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Glamorganshire in the 1881 Census

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

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Glamorganshire in 1881

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

There were 515,191 residents living in Glamorganshire 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.

Glamorganshire was the engine room of the UK’s Second Industrial Revolution, providing the fuel and materials for this era of vast expansion.

Copper was a particularly important industry for Glamorganshire, particularly for the Swansea area. Imports of copper ores reached a peak in the 1880s, but would fall steadily after this, before it disappeared almost entirely by the 1920s.

The ironworks at Merthyr Tydfil had lost its mantle as number one iron producer by 1881. The town had become known as ‘Little Hell’ for its tough working practices and never caught up with modern production practices, leading to its decline.

However, it was coal mining that dominated the landscape. The Rhondda valley region of Glamorgan produced 2.13 million tons of coal in 1874, which rose to an amazing 5.8 million tons by 1884.

The coal produced in Glamorgan far exceeded the interior demand, and in the latter half of the 19th century the area became a mass exporter for its product. In the 1890s the docks of South Wales accounted for 38 percent of British coal exports and a quarter of global trade.

Perhaps one of your ancestors were one of a staggering 31,531 people listed as coal miners in the county ?

Find Your Glamorganshire Past

Findmypast has in-depth records from Glamorganshire in 1881so you can explore your family history with ease.

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

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

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

Among the names of your relatives, there are some local legends to be discovered in Findmypast’s vast database.

For instance, Jim Driscoll ,who fought fought his way out of poverty - quite literally, he was a boxer!

Although his father would die shortly after this census was taken, the man known as “Peerless Jim” would draw strength from his roots and become British Featherweight champion and win the Lonsdale Belt.

William Abrahamis another local hero to be found - although an MP for Rhondda for 35 years, “Mabon” is mostly famous for being a trade unionist and first president of the South Wales Miners’ Federation.

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 more than half a million Glamorganshire residents in the 1881 Census, so now’s the time to investigate our records to find which family members did amazing things in this unique period in history!

Search Glamorganshire by surname