1841 British Census and the wider world

Settlement of Wanganui New Zealand 1841

Wanganui New Zealand 1841

The 1841 British census took place on the evening of Sunday 6th June. It is the first to show names and the approximate ages of all people residing in the country on that night.  For those interested in family history though, it is fascinating to take a look at the wider world and what was happening in the year that our ancestors filled in their census return.


For a wider look at the world in 1841:

    • British Whig Prime Minister Viscount Melbourne resigns and a new Government is headed up by the Conservative, Sir Robert Peel.  Queen Victoria is not too keen on Peel but is persuaded by Prince Albert to support him.
    • The Afghan War continues with Afghan forces laying siege to the British garrison at Jellalabad west of the Khyber Pass
    • In the continuing Opium War Chinese negotiators agree to pay indemnities to Britain and to cede the island of Hong Kong. The small island has a population of approximately 5000 fishermen and pirates and the deal is rejected by both sides. British attacks on the coastal fortifications continue.
    • Britain makes New Zealand a separate colony to New South Wales
    • The firts emigrant wagon train bound for the Pacific, is guided over a distance of 2,000 miles by fur trader Thomas Fitzpatrick. 130 settlers make the journey and build a settlement at Walla Walla in Oregon.
    • English military engineer, George Everest, completes a survey of the Indian sub continent, the worlds highest mountain, Chomolungma will be named Mount Everest in his honour.
    • The British Antarctic explorer, James Ross leaves Hobbart in Tasmania and discovers what will be called the Ross Sea and the Ross Ice shelf
    • The first peacetime income tax is levied on the British public for incomes above £150 at a rate of 7d in the pound.
    • British coal miners form the miners Association hoping to organize 200,000 miners into an effective bargaining force
    • The Peninsular and Orient Steamship Company begins a service to India. Passengers disembark at Alexandria and travel overland by camel and mule train to the red sea.
Intriguing Connections:
    1. John Roebling manufactures the first wire rope cable, which means that those amazing suspension bridges can be built.
    2. William Marshall and his purpose built flax mill in Leeds uses turf as insulation on which he grazes sheep, nothing so new then……
    3. David Livingstone arrives at the Cape of Good Hope and all that ensues from that
    4. The population of New York is 313,000, how many of them are British born and are they connected to your family tree of family history
    5. Are any in you family tree members of the army and in which case are they up the Khyber Pass?
    6. William Mayhew, the great reformer co edits a new magazine Punch, how much is he able to achieve through this humorous and satirical publication?
For great resources and useful insights into social, political and military history, follow the links and visit Intriguing Family History or search the related posts below:


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