England and Wales Census, 1871
A lot of confusion exists around the England and Wales Census, 1871 and access for the general public on FamilySearch.org.
We started looking into access rights when it was reported that a person could find some names but not all names in the indexed portion of the census on FamilySearch. We began working with the engineers to see what was going on. It was discovered that our permission to grant access to the index and the images had been withdrawn during recent contract re-negotiations. Further, we discovered that, when the change occurred, an automatic system failed to apply the new restrictions to all of the DGS numbers (digitized microfilms) involved. So, for quite some time, the general public has continued to be able to access some portions of the census. Engineers have now applied the current restrictions to the entire census.
If you have extensive ancestry in England and Wales, it might be worth your while (and money) to subscribe to findmypast.com where you can access the census records.
We apologize for the confusion and are sad to have to withdraw access to popular census records from our website for the general public. But we also recognize the need that commercial websites have to make a profit and do not begrudge them that right.