According to Ancestry there are two potential census entries (1861 and 1871) for Martha Coke:

Census Results

I don't have a paid subscription so can't view these documents. What I don't understand though is why I can't track these documents down using the free website here:


I can't get these entries to display there.

3 Answers 3


The FreeCen transcription project is ongoing. Their database coverage gives some idea of how complete the coverage is for each county in each census year.

In the case of Dorset, we see:

  • 1861 - 46,737 individuals, representing 26.7% of the population listed in the the census.

  • 1871 - 30,050 individuals, representing 14.1% of the population listed in the the census.

(figures updated on August 12th, 2019 12:16)

Try asking at your local library or archives to see if they offer access to Ancestry for local residents. Many now carry the Ancestry library subscription, and sometime access to other genealogical databases.

  • Thanks for the clarifications. I think my local library only lets me view additional records if they fall within Wiltshire. But I will try. Aug 17, 2019 at 11:27

Freecen is maintained by volunteers and not all census records have been transcribed yet.

If you go to Freecen Database coverage you'll see that coverage of Dorset is only 21% so far.

You can however search at for transcriptions at FamilySearch

  • Thanks for the clarifications. Using FamilySearch I was at-least able to spot the marriage banns from May 1878. Aug 17, 2019 at 11:26
  • Just a minor note. The coverage page is broken down by census year, and then by county. The 21% coverage figure for Dorset you mentioned is actually just for the 1941 census. Aug 17, 2019 at 13:30
  • For the two years OP is asking about, average in Dorset is 20.4%. Close enough.
    – user6485
    Aug 17, 2019 at 13:32

We've all had the "help, I want to see this record but it is paywalled and I can't afford it" problem. These are some of the things I recommend.

  • Learn How to evaluate the content of pay sites before you subscribe. See Catch 22: how do you know if a data provider's sub will be valuable to you — before you subscribe? for tips.
  • Keep an eye on coverage. The earlier answers addressed what FreeCEN covers. Make a habit of checking the coverage for any website you visit.
  • Start a research log. Make a wishlist of the records you want to see, so that when you do gain access, you won't forget to look for them.
  • Sign up for newsletters. The newsletters often have research tips that will help you in your research. You'll also get news about sales, promotions, and free access periods.
  • Keep an eye on the news. Follow websites and bloggers who post news on social media so you can take advantage of free access periods.
  • Check your local libraries, societies and archives. One of my genealogical societies offers remote access to MyHeritage Library edition. Others offer discounts to findmypast. You won't know what's on offer until you look.
  • Keep an eye on the magazines. The magazine Family Tree (the UK title, not the USA publication) partners with The Genealogist to offer free access to selected records every month. The Genealogist offers a subscription to their in-house magazine Discover Your Ancestors which includes limited-time access to selected data. If you can spot the record set you need in one of these offers, you can see the records for the cost of a magazine.
  • Use the FamilySearch Research Wiki. Search for the locality name plus "genealogy" and look for the blue button for Online Genealogy Records. This article will give you an overview of what's online, both on FamilySearch and elsewhere.
  • Look outside the subscription box. Use your favorite search engine of choice to look for transcriptions on sites like UK Genealogy Archives.
  • Look in a bigger box. Check WorldCat, the Internet Archive, PERSI, and other catalogs to look for published transcriptions and indexes.
  • Pay Per View. How badly do you need the information on the record? Sometimes it's less work to find a site that will allow you to see it via PPV.

Whatever method you choose, be sure to save a copy of the record locally because your access time may be limited.

  • 2
    Also, follow the main providers on social media. That way you'll receive notifications when they offer free weekend access to their records. Aug 17, 2019 at 21:27
  • 1
    @sempaiscuba Thanks, I've added social media to the list.
    – Jan Murphy
    Aug 18, 2019 at 16:28

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