Find your ancestors in New South Wales 1841 census

What can these records tell me?

View transcripts and images from the original 1841 New South Wales census, which include household returns, affidavit forms, and abstracts of returns. You may be able to discover the following details from a transcript:

  • First name(s)
  • Last name
  • Sex
  • Year
  • Residence
  • Parish
  • County
  • District
  • State
  • Series
  • Film number

New South Wales had its first census in 1828. Following the 1901 census, the census was subsequently conducted every ten years. Minimal census records have survived today, but the remaining records for the 1841 census are available in this collection. The following individuals were required to participate in the census, which occurred on 2 March 1841:

  • Householders
  • Employers of servants
  • Proprietors of land
  • Occupiers of land

If a householder was unable to write, then the collector could fill in the forms.

The images of the original forms may occasionally provide you with additional information or insight. For example, on the affidavit forms, the householder would need to sign the paperwork. As such, you may be able to see your ancestor’s signature.

Discover more about these records

The images have been reproduced by courtesy of the State Records Authority of New South Wales and include two series:

NRS 1281, reels 1417-1419 and 2508-2509, Householders returns and affidavit forms

Household returns include details about the householder and his home, such as

  • Head of household or establishment
  • Building material of house (stone, brick, or wood)
  • If the house is complete and inhabited
  • Number of individuals residing in the house, including how many are free

The affidavit forms refer to collectors’ affidavits, or numerical returns, and would follow the corresponding householder returns. Numerical returns include the total number of household members based on the following categories:

  • Sex
  • Marital status
  • Age
  • Civil condition (bond or free)
  • Religion
  • Occupation

NRS 1282, reels 2222-2223, Abstracts of returns

The abstracts of returns include details obtained and compiled from the previous two forms and were organized by county, parish, town, or district. Information recorded on the abstracts relates to the following fields and includes the corresponding number of individuals in the household:

  • Establishment name
  • Age (broken up by ranges)
  • Married or single (divided by sex)
  • Civil condition (number of individuals free or bond, divided by sex)
  • Religion (including the following denominations – Church of England, Church of Scotland, Wesleyan Methodists, other Protestant dissenters, Roman Catholic, Jewish, Mahomedans and Pagans)
  • Occupation
  • Totals broken up by sex
  • Number of houses built of stone or wood, as well of number of houses uninhabited, unfinished, inhabited, and finished