The 1911 and 1901 Government Censuses are some of the earliest existing comprehensive national censuses available for research. There are some fragments available for 1821 but most were destroyed by fire. The Census are now available free of charge online and they can offer useful information for your research.
You can search the Census 1901/1911 easily and browse by place as well as name, occupation, marital status and other options. By clicking on the individual family names you can learn who was staying in the house on the night of the Census, what out-buildings the family owned, how long they were married and how many children they had (1911 only).
The Census provide valuable information regarding the type of houses within which families lived. As well as general information regarding the members of the household, county of birth and occupation, the 1911 Census provides greater detail about the number of children born and still living and number of years married. The recording of county of birth is very useful in attempting to trace those who migrated within the country. While ages are recorded for each member of a household these should be treated as approximate. Many people would not have known their actual date of birth.
These records starting in 1864 for all denominations and 1845 for non-Roman Catholic marriages, provide important family information. Sometimes civil records include both parents' names bringing you back another generation.
This interesting source from 1837 is great for learning more about the local parish including location, name of local landlord and sometimes description of notable buildings as well as dates of fair days, court days and other historical statistics.
Known as 'census substitutes' these provide limited information about the head of household in a period when full census returns are not available. Both of these resources can be accessed for free.
Learn more about an ancestor's occupation - from what address did they trade? Where did they perform their work? Many directories are organised in a hierarchy of social class beginning with notable gentry and clergy, while others are in alphabetical order. They include the names of Boot and Shoe Makers, Carpenters, Merchants, Drapers and so on.