National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

1901 Census

1901 Census

The 1901 census was taken on Sunday 31 March under provisions in the Census (Great Britain) Act 1900, 63 Vict. c.4.  The boundaries of 287 of the 881 civil parishes had changed since the 1891 census by orders of the Boundary Commission appointed under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889.

The population of Scotland on 31 March 1901 was 4,472,103.

This guide covers:

1901 Census Questions

There were several changes to the questions that had been asked in 1891.

  • the question on Gaelic was restricted to those aged three years and over
  • persons born abroad were asked to indicate if they were “foreign subjects”
  • the term idiot was omitted leaving the categories deaf and dumb, blind, lunatic and imbecile, feeble-minded.

There was an additional question on occupation to find out the number of people who carried out their trade or industry at home.  In this example from the the 1901 census for Unst in Shetland (our reference 1901/11/4, page 15) most of the women were involved in the knitting industry on their own account and worked at home.

Image of a page from the 1901 census for Unst in Shetland

From the 1871 census onwards returns for the Royal Navy have been given registration district reference 902S and those of the Merchant Navy reference 903S.  In 1901 the following references were added

  • 904S for merchant ships
  • 905S for Irish ships
  • 906S for English ships.
1901 Census List of Registration Districts

This pdf copy of our search room guide 1901 census list of registration districts gives the number of enumeration books for each district.  It is arranged alphabetically by registration district name and has cross-references to the 1901 census street indexes.

1901 Census Street Indexes

Census street indexes provide registration district (RD) and enumeration district (ED) references for each street in a city or urban area. They also cover institutions such as asylums, hospitals, workhouses, prisons, police stations and barracks as well as hotels and public buildings.

There are 36 street indexes for the 1901 census. They have been digitised and are made available as pdf files that are several megabytes in size. PDF files require Acrobat Reader. Download Acrobat Reader free Get Acrobat Reader.

If you can’t find a particular street it may not have existed in 1901 or may have had a different name.