Genealogical Records

Coll Censuses

In the 1700s occasional local censuses were commissioned by landlords or church authorities, such as the 1776 List of Inhabitants of the Island of Coll. The first official nation-wide census in Britain was in 1801 and there has been a census every 10 years since then, except for 1941. The early official censuses, 1801-1831, recorded numbers of people only. The census of 1841 was the first to record names, ages, occupations and other information of value to genealogists. The dates of the censuses from 1841 to 1911 were:
6th June
30th March
7th April
2nd April
3rd April
5th April
31st March
2nd April

To download a census transcript in searchable Excel format click on the year in the table below .

Year People Dwellings Notes
Transcribed by
1776 936 197 The earliest known 'census' of Coll is the List of Inhabitants of The Island of Coll of 2nd December 1776, made by the local church minister, which was entered in the Coll Kirk Session records. Flora MacDonald
& Linda Temple
1841 1,414 269 In the 1841 census ages up to 15 were recorded correctly but ages above 15 were rounded down to the nearest 5 year multiple, e.g. ages 15-19 were recorded as 15, ages 20-24 as 20, and so on. Included in the official census records was a report by Mr Alexander Stewart, the local schoolteacher appointed to manage the 1841 census in Coll. Keith Dash
1851 1,106 244 In the 10 years from 1841 to 1851 the population in Coll fell by 22%. This marked the beginning of the evictions of cottar families and the leasing of farms to 'incomer' tenants, with evicted families having to emigrate to the mainland or further afield to British colonies overseas. The 1841 and 1851 censuses have special significance for the descendants of these Collach emigrants because they are often the last homeland record of their ancestors. Ian Scott
1861 777 186 Evictions continued after 1851, and by 1861 Coll's population was about half that in 1841. The proportion of 'incomers', i.e. people not born in Coll, had increased to 28%. Ian Scott
1871 722 160 The population of Coll continued to decline after 1861 but at a slower than in the 1841-1861 period. This census recorded, for the first time, the number of windowed rooms in each dwelling (i.e. rooms with one or more windows). Keith Dash
1881 634 131 The data for this transcript were extracted from the LDS Family History Resource File of the 1881 British census and the official (GRO) census records. Ann Hentschel
& Keith Dash
1891 522 115 This census recorded for the first time the language(s) spoken by each person: Gaelic only, Gaelic and English, or English only: 24% of people in Coll spoke Gaelic only and 51% spoke Gaelic and English. Gaelic was the home language and children learnt English after they went to school. Most 'incomers' from the mainland spoke English only. Keith Dash
1901 432 101 This census collected the same information as in 1891, i.e. name, age, birthplace, marital status, occupation, language spoken, and the number of windowed rooms in the dwelling. Keith Dash
1911 389 97 This census collected the same information as in 1901 and in addition recorded personal information about married women: the number of years married, the number of children born live, and the number of children still living. Keith Dash