Find them on the census

This guide was last updated in 2009

Coal miners were one of the most distinctive groups of workers to travel in search of secure employment or better wage rates. Tracing their movements can often be achieved by viewing the national census returns that were taken at ten yearly intervals from 1841.

In Cornwall, for example, when the tin industry fell into decline, many hundreds of mining families resettled in the coal pit villages of northern England or south Wales: In the village of Roose, on the Furness Peninsula - built around the needs of the local mine – the 1881 census, alongside names, ages and occupations, shows that 70 per cent of its population had been born in Cornwall.

A complete set of census returns from 1841 (when details of individuals were first recorded) to (currently) 1911 are available for inspection in county record offices, local authority libraries or viewed on several subscription and pay-by-view websites.

Coal-mining ancestors
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