Manchester Central Library is from today playing a key role in making the 1921 Census for England and Wales freely available to view. It has been published today at Find My Past.

Manchester Central Library is one of only two places in the country where people are able to receive this service for free. Elsewhere it costs £2.50 for every record transcript and £3.50 for every original record image. In recognition as its status as the busiest public library in the country, containing the excellent Archives+ service, Manchester Central Library joins The National Archives in Kew as one of two venues where research on Findmypast can be carried out completely for free. The census is available for free for library members on all 130 computers at Central Library. If you’re not already a member, bring one form of Id showing your address to the library and we’ll join you up for free. Support will also be available from the Manchester and Lancashire Family History Helpdesk which runs Mondays – Friday from 10.30am – 3.30 pm, and from Central Library’s Archives+ staff.

The 1921 Census will be an invaluable source for historians and people interested in their family history for many reasons. Taken between two world wars, during a period of economic turmoil and at a time when women had just won the right to vote, the 1921 Census will provide some fascinating insights about society and how it has evolved over the past 100 years and will be an invaluable source for family history researchers. All census information becomes available 100 years after the event.

The 1921 census will prove even more valuable to genealogists than other census’s as the 1931 Census was destroyed in a fire. Then, the 1941 Census was cancelled due to the Second World War. That leaves the 1921 Census to set the scene for a key point in history.

It’s also the most revealing record set up to that time – it was the first census to recognise divorce, and to capture people’s employment details. For the first time, you’ll see all the family secrets and surprises that this interwar census brings

The release of the 1921 census is truly a historic event, opening a truly unique window into the world one hundred years ago. We are extremely proud that Manchester Central Library has been recognised as the one place apart from The National Archives where the census will be freely available to research.

We expect that this will be a very popular service and we are excited to welcome residents from across the city, the region and beyond to the outstanding facilities at Manchester Central Library.

We would like to thank the Manchester and Lancashire Family History Society for their ongoing support of people’s family history research

It is free to use the Internet at Central Library if you are a Manchester Libraries member. If you’re not currently a member, anyone can join for free when they visit, just bring a form of ID showing the current address.

Find out more about the family history resources.

Find out more about the Manchester and Lancashire Family History society.