1. Parenting
Using Census Records for Genealogical Research
By Curt B. Witcher, MLS, FUGA
More of this Feature
Pt 2: 1880 - 1920
Pt 3: Census Indices
Pt 4: Special Schedules
Pt 5: Census 'Gotchas'
Pt 6: Census Substitutes
Pt 7: Bibliography

Special Chat!
Curt B. Witcher, president of the National Genealogical Society and Head of the Allen County, IN Public Library's Historic Genealogy Department, was a guest in our chat room on March 7, 2001 to answer questions about Using Census Records for Family History. This special lecture iwas a part of an ongoing series sponsored by the U.S. National Genealogical Society.
Read the Transcript!

Related Resources
Census Around the World
Common Soundex Mistakes
U.S. Census Online

Elsewhere on the Web
National Genealogical Society
Allen County Public Library Genealogy Dept.

Census records and population schedules -- federal, state, and local -- can provide the family historian with some rich veins of genealogical data. The careful researcher will continually seek enumerations which place individuals in a context for a particular time period.

1790 - 1840 Federal Population Census

While the head of the household is the only individual identified by name in these federal census years, their value, nonetheless, should not be underestimated.

1790: head of household name, # of free white males 16 years & older, free white males under 16, free white females, all other free persons, number of slave.

1800 & 1810: head of household name, five different age categories for free white males and females, all other free persons except Indians not taxed, number of slaves.

1820: head of household name, five different age categories for free white males and females, number of free white males between 16 and 18 years, foreigners not naturalized, male and female slaves and free colored persons in four different age categories, all other free persons except Indians not taxed, number of person (including slaves) engaged in agriculture, commerce and manufacturing.

1830: head of household name, number of free white males and females in 5 year age groups to age 20--in 10 year age groups from 20 to 100--and 100 years and older, number of slaves and free colored persons in six age groups, number of deaf and dumb in three age groups, number of blind, number of foreigners not naturalized.

1840: head of household name, number of free white males and females in 5 year age groups to age 20--in 10 year age groups from 20 to 100--and 100 years and older, number of slaves and free colored persons in six age groups, number of deaf and dumb, number of blind, number of insane and idiotic in public or private charge, number of persons in each family employed in each of seven classes of occupations, number of scholars, number of white persons over 20 who could not read & write, number of pensioners for Revolutionary or military service.

1850 - 1870 Federal Population Census

The 1850 federal census is a keystone document for many researchers as it is the first census to list everyone by name as well as provide for a place of birth. All 1850 federal censuses are also indexed. The majority of 1860 and 1870 censuses are indexed with the remainder of the indexing anticipated in the next couple of years.

1850: for all individuals: name, age, sex, color; whether deaf and dumb, blind, insane or idiotic; all free persons required to give value of real estate owned; profession, occupation, or trade for each male over 15; place of birth; whether married within the year; whether married within the year; whether attended school within the year; whether unable to read and write for persons under 20; whether a pauper or convict.

1860: for all individuals: name, age, sex, color; whether deaf and dumb, blind, insane or idiotic; all free persons required to give value of real estate and personal estate owned; profession, occupation, or trade for each male and female over 15; place of birth; whether married within the year; whether married within the year; whether attended school within the year; whether unable to read and write for persons under 20; whether a pauper or convict.

1870: for all individuals: name, age, sex, color; citizenship for males over 21, profession, occupation, or trade; value of real and personal estate; place of birth; whether father and mother were foreign born; born within the year; married within the year; for persons 10 or older whether able to read and write; whether deaf and dumb, blind, insane, or idiotic.


Next page > 1880-1930 Federal Population Census > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.