Check the census

This guide was last updated in 2011

The make up of the fairground changed rapidly throughout the late 19th century.

A fairground worker, or showman, might be listed in the census under any of the following terms: stallholder, amusement caterer, showman, roundabout proprietor, exhibition proprietor or hawker.

It was not until the advent of the Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain in 1889 that the term travelling showman become increasingly common on birth certificates and census returns.

The family history website UK Fairground Ancestors contains selected records from the census returns from 1851 onwards that relate to showpeople, and provides a good start.

However, it's recommended to check if possible the census returns for the relevant years yourself.


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