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The 1861 census was taken on the night of 7 April 1861.
The 1861 census is the first census conducted by the Registrar General for Scotland, established under the 1854 Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages (Scotland) Act. Previously, the 1841 and 1851 census had taken place under Home Office jurisdiction and collected by schoolteachers in the various parishes.
The 1854 Act changed the way in which data was collected, utilising registration districts and local registrars.
Census enumerators distributed a schedule before census night to every household in the area they were assigned to cover which were collected the following day, checked and copied into an enumerator's book. The local registrar checked them and sent them to the Census Office and the original schedules were destroyed.
Information from ScotlandsPeople, which provides full access to the 1841-1911 census records.