What is a census?
A census or return records information about a population. The same information is collected at the same time from everyone across a specified area. Information is collected from people where they live, or where they are staying at the time of the census. To find out more about the types of information that can be found in census records, read Why use census data?
This guide describes why census data is of interest to genealogists and historians. It explains how to find and use information collected in censuses from 1788 to 1901. It also includes information about the history of censuses in Australia.
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Taking the census, A/S23/04/81/137
State Library of Victoria
What is a muster?
Before censuses, musters were the most common way of recording information about a population. Information was collected by calling a population to assemble at a particular place/s, then recording people's details. To find out more about the types of information that can be found in muster records, read Why use census data?