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Beginning Genealogy Lesson #9
US Federal Census Records

DearREADERS,
Lesson #6 introduced the idea that there are a number of government records available to help you with your family history research. Today let's discuss one of the first choices of genealogists, namely US Federal Census Records. They are most useful for locating a family every ten years. Once you put your ancestor in that specific locality, you can look for church, land and courthouse records for more documentary evidence. From this listing of each census and the summary of questions asked by enumerators,
you can see that quite a lot of pertinent information can be gleaned from the US Federal Census Records.

Microfilm
Series
Indexed Images
NARA = National Archives & Records Administration FHL = Family History Library
1790
residence state, county, city, head of family, free white male & female (notations for specific age brackets); all other free persons; slaves.   Ancestry: every name global search free, but details of hits require $
Genealogy.com: $
HeritageQuestOnline: $
US-Census.org: free, varies
Ancestry: $
Genealogy.com: $
HeritageQuestOnline: $
US-Census.org: free, varies
1800
residence state, county, city; head of family; free white male & female (notations for specific age brackets); all other free persons; slaves.   Ancestry: every name global search free, but details of hits require $
Genealogy.com: $
HeritageQuestOnline: $
US-Census.org: free, varies
Ancestry: $
Genealogy.com: $
HeritageQuestOnline: $
US-Census.org: free, varies
1810
residence state, county, city, head of family; free white male & female (notations for specific age brackets); all other free persons; slaves.   Ancestry: every name global search free, but details of hits require $
Genealogy.com: $
HeritageQuestOnline: $
US-Census.org: free, varies
Ancestry: $
Genealogy.com: $
HeritageQuestOnline: $
US-Census.org: free, varies
1820
residence state, county; parish, township, town or city; enumeration date; head of family; free white males & females (notations for specific age brackets); foreigners not naturalized; number of persons engaged in agriculture; number of persons engaged in commerce; number of persons engaged in manufacture; slaves male & female (notations for specific age brackets); free colored persons males & females (notations for specific age brackets); other persons except Indians not taxed.    Ancestry: every name global search free, but details of hits require $
Genealogy.com: $
HeritageQuestOnline: $
US-Census.org: free, varies
Ancestry: $
Genealogy.com: $
HeritageQuestOnline: $
US-Census.org: free, varies

1830

residence state, county; city, ward, town, township, parish, precinct hundred or district; enumeration date; name of head of family; free while male & female (notations for specific age brackets); slaves (notations for specific age brackets); free colored persons; white persons who are deaf & dumb (notations for specific age brackets); white persons who are blind; white persons who are aliens; slaves & colored persons who are deaf & dumb; sales and colored persons who are blind.   Ancestry: every name global search free, but details of hits require $
Genealogy.com: $
HeritageQuestOnline: $
US-Census.org: free, varies
Ancestry: $
Genealogy.com: $
HeritageQuestOnline: $
US-Census.org: free, varies
1840
residence state, county; city, ward, town, township, parish, precinct, hundred or district; enumeration date, name of head of family; free whites male or female (notations for specific age brackets); free colored persons male or female (notations for specific age brackets); slaves male or female (notations for specific age brackets); number of persons employed in mining, agriculture, commerce, manufacturing, navigation of ocean, navigation of canals, lakes or rivers, engineers; name & age of pensioners for Revolutionary or military service; deaf & dumb , blind & insane white persons;  deaf & dumb , blind & insane black persons; schools: university, academies & grammar schools, primary & common schools, number of scholars at public, number of whites over 20 who cannot read or write.   Ancestry: every name global search free, but details of hits require $
Genealogy.com: $
HeritageQuestOnline: $
US-Census.org: free, varies
Ancestry: $
Genealogy.com: $
HeritageQuestOnline: $
US-Census.org: free, varies
1850 residence state, county, city; enumeration date; name of every person in this abode on June 1, 1850; age; sex; color; profession; value of real estate owned; place of birth; married within the year; attended school within the year; persons over 20 years of age who cannot read & write; whether deaf & dumb, blind, insane, idiotic, pauper or convict.   Ancestry: every name global search free, but details of hits require $
Genealogy.com: $
HeritageQuestOnline: No
US-Census.org: free, varies
Ancestry: $
Genealogy.com: $
HeritageQuestOnline: $
US-Census.org: free, varies
1850
Slave Schedule
  Ancestry: every name global search free, but details of hits require $  
1850 Mortality Schedule   Ancestry: every name global search free, but details of hits require $  
1860 residence state, county, city; enumeration date; name of every person in this abode on June 1, 1860; age; sex; color; profession; value of real estate; value of personal estate; birth place; married within the year; attended school within the year; persons over 20 years of age who cannot read & write; whether deaf & dumb, blind, insane, idiotic, pauper or convict.   Ancestry: every name global search free, but details of hits require $
Genealogy.com: $
HeritageQuestOnline: $
US-Census.org: free, varies
Ancestry: $
Genealogy.com: $
HeritageQuestOnline: $
US-Census.org: free, varies
1860 Slave Schedule Ancestry: every name global search free, but details of hits require $ Ancestry: every name global search free, but details of hits require $  
1860 Mortality Schedule Ancestry: every name global search free, but details of hits require $ Ancestry: every name global search free, but details of hits require $  
1870 residence state, county, city; enumeration date; name of each person in this abode on June 1,  1870; age at last birthday; sex; color; profession; value of real estate; value of personal estate; place of birth; father foreign born; mother foreign born; if born within the year give month; if married within the year give month; attended school within the year; cannot read; cannot write; whether deaf & dumb, blind, idiotic, pauper or convict; male citizens of US 21 and older; male citizens of US & older where rights to vote is denied on other grounds than rebellion or other crime. Ancestry: global search free, but details of hits require $
Genealogy.com: $
HeritageQuestOnline: $
US-Census.org: free, varies
Ancestry: global search free, but details of hits require $
Genealogy.com: $
HeritageQuestOnline: $
US-Census.org: free, varies
Ancestry: $
Genealogy.com: $
HeritageQuestOnline: $
US-Census.org: free, varies
1870 Mortality Schedule   Ancestry: every name global search free, but details of hits require $  
1880 residence state, county, city/township; enumeration district; enumeration date; street; house number; name of each person in this abode June 1, 1880; color; sex; age at last birthday prior to June 1, 1880, if under 1 year given in fraction; if born within the census year give the month; relationship to head of household; civil condition; whether married during census year; profession; number of months unemployed during census year; if sick or temporarily disabled on enumerator's visit specify sickness or disability; blind; deaf & dumb; idiotic; maimed or crippled; attend school; cannot read; cannot write; place of birth for self and each parent.   NOTE: free 1880 Census Index at www.familysearch.org (considered very reliable, double blind data entry, provides direct link to census images at Ancestry.com.) Ancestry: free
Genealogy.com: $
HeritageQuestOnline: $
US-Census.org: free, varies
1880 Mortality Schedule   Ancestry: every name global search free, but details of hits require $  
1890 only 6% remains due to fire damage   Ancestry: every name global search free, but details of hits require $ Ancestry: $
1890 Veterans Schedule residence state, county, city/township; enumeration district; enumeration date; house number; family number; name of surviving soldiers, sailors, Marines & widows; rank; company; name of regiment or vessel; day, month and year of enlistment;  day, month & year of discharge; years, months & days of service; post office address; disability incurred.   Ancestry: every name global search free, but details of hits require $
1900 residence state, county, city/township; enumeration district; enumeration date; street; house number; each whose place of abode on June 1, 1900 was here; surname, given name and middle initial; include every person living on June 1, 1900; omit children born since June 1, 1900; relationship to head of household; color or race; sex; month of birth; year of birth; age at last birthday; marital status; number of hears in present marriage; mother: how many children & number of living children; place of birth for person & each parent; year of immigration to the US; number of years in the US; naturalization; occupation of each person ten years of age and over; months employed; attended school in months; can read; can write; can speak English; owned or rented home; free or mortgaged; farm or house; number on farm schedule.   Ancestry: every name global search free, but details of hits require $
Genealogy.com: $
HeritageQuestOnline: $
US-Census.org: free, varies
Ancestry: $
Genealogy.com: $
HeritageQuestOnline: $
US-Census.org: free, varies
1910 residence state, county, city/township; enumeration district; enumeration date; street, house number; each whose place of abode on April 15, 1910; surname then middle & given name; include living persons on April 15,1910 and omit children born since April 15, 1910; relationship to head of household; sex; color or race; age at last birthday; marital status; number of years in present marriage; mother: how many children born & number now living; place of birth; father & mother's places of birth; year of immigration to the US; whether naturalized or alien; whether able to speak English or give language spoken; trade; industry; employee or self-employed; whether able to read; whether able to write; attended school since Sept 1, 1919; owned or rented home; free or mortgaged; farm or house; number on farm schedule; whether survivor of the Union or Confederate Army or Navy; whether blind in both eyes; whether deaf and dumb. T624, 1784 Ancestry: head of household global search free, but details of hits require $
Genealogy.com: $
HeritageQuestOnline: $
US-Census.org: free, varies
Ancestry: $
Genealogy.com: $
HeritageQuestOnline: $
US-Census.org: free, varies
1920
See also: National Archives and Records Administration 1920 .
residence state; county; city/township; enumeration district; census date; street; house number; name of each person in abode on 1 Jan 1920; relationship to head of household; home rented or owned; mortgaged for free; sex; color or race; age at last birthday; marital status; year of immigration to US; naturalized or alien; year of naturalization; attended school since Sept 1, 1919; able to read; able to write; place of birth & mother tongue for person, father and mother; able to speak English; trade; industry; employer; number on farm schedule.  NARA T625, 2,076 rolls Ancestry: head of household global search free, but details of hits require $
Genealogy.com: $
HeritageQuestOnline: $
US-Census.org: free, varies
Ancestry: $
Genealogy.com: $
HeritageQuestOnline: $
US-Census.org: free, varies
1930 US Federal Census
See also: Locating Ancestors in the 1930 Census by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak
U.S. Census Bureau 1930National Archives and Records Administration 1930
The 1930 census : a reference and research guide
by Thomas Jay Kemp
Enumeration district maps for the Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930, National Archives microfilm publications, M1930

residence state; county, city/township; enumeration district; census date; street; house number; name of each person whose place of abode on April 1, 1930 was in this family, surname  then given name and middle initial; include every person living on April 1, 1930, Omit children born since April 1, 1930; relationship to head of household; home owned or rented; value of home; if own radio; sex; color or race; age at last birthday; marital condition; age at first marriage; attended school since Sept 1 1929; whether able to read or write; place of birth for person, father, mother; mother tongue; year of immigration; naturalized or alien; whether able to speak English; occupation; industry; class of worker; currently employed; line number for unemployed; whether a veteran of the US military or naval forces mobilized for any war or expedition; what war or expedition; number on farm schedule. NARA: 
T624, 1784 rolls.

FHC:

 

Ancestry: every name index global search free, but details of hits require $
Genealogy.com: $
HeritageQuestOnline: $ partial in June 2005
US-Census.org: free, varies
Ancestry: $
Genealogy.com: $
HeritageQuestOnline: $
US-Census.org: free, varies
1940
not available until 2012, due to right of privacy laws.

HOW TO ACCESS US FEDERAL CENSUS RECORDS

Old-fashioned method  We used to view microfilms at regional National Archives, state archives, and local LDS Family History Centers. Your public library may also have census microfilm available. The disadvantage is that the films are filed by state, then county, then township, then enumeration district, but of course the names weren't listed in alphabetical order. You'd have to already know a lot about an ancestor to find him in a census microfilm. Without some sort of a printed index, we weren't able to locate an ancestor unless we wound our way through all 1,500 pages of a typical census film. That's how come genealogists used to have  exceptionally muscular right arms -- those page-by-page microfilm searches were quite a workout!

Advantages of the Internet You are doing yourself a disservice if you do not search the online indices and view scanned images of census records at Ancestry.com, HeritageQuestOnline and Genealogy.com. Hopefully you local Family History Center has high speed internet access to AncestryPlus, and your regional library has membership to HeritageQuestOnline. I simply cannot say enough about the ability to search at least these 2 collections when doing census research.

  • Fast return on name searches
  • All-state or all country searches
  • Indices link directly to the census image

Where are the census images online?

You'll find additional internet sites regarding US Federal Census records at:

WHAT TO DO WITH THE CENSUS RECORDS

1. Look for each family member in the online indices. Use at least 5 alternate spellings for each name if you are having difficulty finding them. If necessary narrow or broaden your search to a specific state. Each census image website has it's own search engine. However,  Stephen Morse designed a method for searching online databases, offering more options http://www.stevemorse.org with his "One-Step Portal."

2. Use printable census abstract forms from Ancestry.com. They are simply the best -- quite clear and readable. Please do yourself a favor and transcribe (letter for letter) each bit of information on your ancestors as you are viewing on your computer screen. Perhaps you can do this while you are printing out a hard copy of the page mentioning  your ancestor's family. Find the forms at: http://www.ancestry.com/save/charts/census.htm

1790
U.S. 1790 Census
Download Now
1800
U.S. 1800 Census
Download Now
1810
U.S. 1810 Census
Download Now
1820
U.S. 1820 Census
Download Now
1830
U.S. 1830 Census
Download Now
1840
U.S. 1840 Census
Download Now
1850
U.S. 1850 Census
Download Now
1860
U.S. 1860 Census
Download Now
1870
U.S. 1870 Census
Download Now
1880
U.S. 1880 Census
Download Now
1890
1890 Veterans Schedule
Download Now
1900
U.S. 1900 Census
Download Now
1910
U.S. 1910 Census
Download Now

1920
U.S. 1920 Census
Download Now

1930
U.S. 1930 Census
Download Now

3. Be sure when using these extraction forms to indicate the web site and the NARA (National Archives & Records Administration) film number. 

4. Store in archivally safe, top loading sheet protectors.

5. Enter the information in your genealogy management software.

6. Analyze the information to determine other records to search for each ancestor. For example, if a marriage is referenced, you can obtain a copy of the marriage return. If the ancestor is mentioned as a Union Civil War veteran, then contact or visit the Archives in Washington, DC to obtain a copy of his service, pension and/or widow's benefits file.

So, please accept this week's assignment to go forward and look for each member of your family on all US Federal Census records available during his/her lifetime.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     :)
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy.


1995-2005 Pat Richley HOME | Ask | Blog | BookShelf | ContactLessons | Listen | Add to My Yahoo | PodCast media RSS feed | Read | Search | RSS feed
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