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This article uses the full sample of the 1851 census enumerators’ books (CEBs) to revisit and reanalyse the well-known phenomenon of female kin servants in the British census. We find that the recording of female kin servants points to three distinct possibilities – day servants, domestic work at relatives’ homes, and work at relatives’ homes as part of the family business unit. Accordingly, we argue that female kin servants offer a rare opportunity to look into the interaction between gendered work, household economy, and market economy, and they should be considered as much in the labour force as classic servants. We further offer tentative methods to revise the number of female domestic servants. Our revision suggests that domestic service probably employed more women than manufacturing activities of all sorts put together. It highlights the limited impacts of industrialization on most women’s work experiences as well as traditional sector’s importance for women’s employment, even as late as the mid-nineteenth century.