ScotlandsPeople has said that the 1921 Scottish census will still be released in 2022 despite concerns over the progress of the release.


In June 2021 ScotlandsPeople, the official website for the National Records of Scotland (NRS), said that the census release, originally due in summer 2021, had been delayed until “the latter half of 2022”.

On Monday, Scottish family historian Chris Paton posted on his blog, Scottish Genes, that he had “absolutely no idea” when the census would be released, saying “There have been no updates for many months”.

In January 2022 Queen’s University Belfast was awarded a £438,366 contract to transcribe the census.

Yesterday, in the latest edition of its email newsletter, ScotlandsPeople said: “Preparations for the publication of the 1921 Scottish Census on the ScotlandsPeople website and in the ScotlandsPeople Centre towards the end of this year are well under way. In January, work began on the transcription of the index to publish the records and digital images on ScotlandsPeople. Once this is complete, a full transcription of the remaining information from approximately 4.8 million individual records will be created.

“This is a large scale and complex project that involves the transcription of individual records followed by extensive quality assurance. To date we have transcribed over 3 million index entries and continue to work on the quality assurance of these while progressing with the technical preparations on the ScotlandsPeople website. As we continue to proceed with this project, we will announce its publication as far in advance as possible via our digital channels.

“We appreciate how patient people have been waiting for this important release. This is a key priority for NRS and considerable resources are being devoted to ensure these records are released to the public as soon as possible.”

Under privacy laws, census records may be released to the public after 100 years have passed.

The 1921 census of England and Wales was published on paid family history website Findmypast in January 2022.

However, the release was criticised by some family historians for transcription errors.

There is no 1921 census for modern-day Northern Ireland as Ireland was caught up in the Irish War of Independence at the time.


Rosemary Collins is the features editor for Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine