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Integrated Census Microdata (I-CeM)

Integrated Census Microdata (I-CeM)


People and partners

The I-CeM project was conceived and developed by Professors K Schürer and Edward Higgs. At its heart it is underpinned by by raw digital census data made available by the project's commercial partner FindMyPast, part of the DC Thompson group, and the leading UK genealogy and family history online services provider. Two individuals in particular need to be thanked for making this partnership happen. First, Elaine Collins, formerly of FindMyPast, who was instrumental in setting-up the data sharing agreement, and second, Dr Elizabeth Hallam-Smith, formerly of The National Archives and previously Librarian and Archivist at the House of Lords, who first introduced Schürer to Elaine and smoothed the whole process.

The original I-CeM project was based within the Department of History at the University of Essex and funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) between 2009 and 2013 (ESRC RES-062-23-1629). The project also benefitted from earlier funding from the Leverhulme Trust which enabled the creation of an I-CeM prototype based on the 1881 censuses of England and Wales, and Scotland, generously supplied to Schürer by the Genealogical Society of Utah. Likewise, towards the end of the original I-CeM project, additional support was made available from a Digging into Data III award (co-funded by the National Science Foundation (UDA), the Arts and Humanities and the Economic and Social Research Councils (UK), the Joint Information Systems Committee (UK) and the Social Science and Humanities Research Council (Canada).

I-CeM has also benefitted from two other ESRC awards, both held by Professor Alice Reid at the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure, University of Cambridge: the An Atlas of Victorian Fertility Decline project and the Britain's First Demographic Transition: an Integrated geography project, which jointly fed into the creation of the Populations Past website resource. Both of these projects enabled the original version of the I-CeM data collection to be further checked, corrected and enhanced.

The most recent phase of the I-CeM project (2022-24), over ten years since the project first started, has seen the addition of the individual-level 1921 data for the censuses of England and Wales, and Scotland. It has also seen the creation of a number of new encoded variables and the substantial revision to CONPARID. Again, this was generously funded by the UK ESRC (ES/X002039/1) and was hosted by the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure, University of Cambridge.

The National Archives logo ESRC logo Find My Past logo University of Essex logo Department of Geography - University of Cambridge logo NRS logo

Research assistance

The I-CeM project has employed various invaluable research assistants over the course of several years.

The original Essex-based ESRC-funded project was supported by Jamie Collins, Nicola Farnworth, Christine Jones and Amanda Wilkinson, together with a host of part-time coding assistants. Corrine Roughley (Cambridge) also provided GIS support and guidance.

Prior to this, the proto-I-CeM Leverhulme-funded project employed Mark Allen, Raivo Russalepp, Arne Solli and Matthew Woollard - the last of whom has given invaluable support and advice to the project throughout.

On the Digging for Data award based at the University of Leicester, both Tatiana Penkova and Yanshan Shi provided valuable input to the I-CeM data.

Alice Reid's two ESRC-funded projects not only employed Schürer on a part-time basis to work on the I-CeM data, but important data enhancement contributions were also made by Reid herself, Joe Day, Eilidh Garrett and Hannallis Jaadla.

Alexander Wakelam was the principal Research Associate for the 1921 census project, conducting alongside Schürer the majority of data cleaning, encoding, and the creation of new variables.

Further assistance was provided for the 1921 extension by Madeleine Bridie Taylor, Emma Diduch, Rosie Pennycook, Hilary Vipond, Xiaowen (Judy) Zhang and Ying Dai. In addition, Max Satchell provided GIS expertise and support.

Infrastructural support

In the first phase of the I-CeM project a number of staff at the UK Data Archive provided invaluable support: especially, Mus Ahmet, Mike King, and Veerle van der Eynden. The more recent phase, including the building of a new data download engine has involved: Darren Bell, Jacob Joy, Janis Kampe, Aisha Shittu-Mohammed and Sakshi Tayal.

For large parts of the project data have been processed using the ALICE High Performance Computing Facility at the University of Leicester.

Advisory support

Over the various phases of the I-CeM project critical advice and input has been provided by the various members of its Advisory Boards. These have included the following Michael Anderson (Edinburgh), Jessamy Carlson (TNA), Joe Day (Bristol), Ian Gregory (Lancaster), Aoife O'Connor (FMP), Colin Pooley (Lancaster), Steve Ruggles (Minnesota), Kirsty Schaper (TNA), Xuesheng You (Cardiff), Matthew Woollard (Essex), and the late Sir Tony Wrigley (Cambridge).

Prof Matthew Woollard (University of Essex) has been a source of constant support throughout the entire journey of I-CeM, from inception to its current form, for which we are both thankful and grateful.