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United States Census

Find research information and a history of the United States federal census including research guides, online census records, lookup volunteers, microfilm catalogs, historical articles, research guides, and other US census resources.
  1. Free Online Census (8)
  2. Tips & Tutorials (6)

Sources for U.S. Census Records Online
Learn where and how to access U.S. census records online, including digitized census images, plus how to access most of them for free. Also included, are online resources for U.S. special census schedules, such as mortality, agricultural, and slave schedules.

Genealogy Guide to the U.S. Census
Learn what questions were asked and how to find your ancestors in the US Federal Census. Includes details for each census year, 1790-1930, and links to free online census records, where applicable.

U.S. State & Local Census Records Online
Go beyond the U.S. federal census by researching your ancestors in this collection of online state and local census records.

Which Census Year Should I Check First?
Learn which census records are the first ones you should check for the information you seek on your ancestors. Includes tips and major answers for each U.S. census year, 1790-1930.

Where Can I Find State & Local Census Records?
Learn which states and localities took their own censuses, and where these state census records can be found.

Why is There No 1890 Census?
Learn how more than 99 percent of the 1890 US Federal census records were destroyed and which 1890 census records are still available to researchers.

What Do All of the Census Abbreviations Mean?
Handy list of abbreviations and their meanings, gathered from census forms and census taker instructions for the US, Canadian and British censuses.

What is an Enumeration District?
Learn how an enumeration district is defined by the U.S. Census Bureau and how to use the enumeration district or ED number to locate individuals in historic U.S. census records, 1970 through 1940.

How to Locate People in the 1940 U.S. Census
1940 census

Common Census Abbreviations
Make sense of the information on census forms with this handy list of abbreviations and their meanings, gathered from census forms and census taker instructions for the US, Canadian and British census.

Using Census Records for Genealogical Research
Learn how to use census records in your genealogy research from Curt Witcher, former president of the National Genealogical Society and current Head of the Historical Genealogy Department of the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

R.C. Russell Soundex Index - Full Text Description from the Original Patent
russell index

Research Guide to the 1940 US Census
Learn what questions were asked and how to find your ancestors in the 1940 census, in this free genealogy guide to the US Federal Census.

Research Guide to the 1930 U.S. Census
If you've ever wondered who your ancestors voted for, what their primary mode of transportation was, and how they received the news of their day — the 1930 census may give you a clue.

Research Guide to the 1920 U.S. Census
The 1920 U.S. census is the only federal U.S. census to request the year in which a person was naturalized.

Research Guide to the 1910 U.S. Census
The quality of the microfilming of the 1910 census is especially poor when compared to other census schedules, yet the records themselves provide some of the best details of any U.S. census.

Research Guide to the 1900 U.S. Census
This is the only federal U.S. census to report the month and year of birth for each person, as well as the first census to report the year of immigration.

Research Guide to the 1880 U.S. Census
1880 marked the first U.S. census to identify the relationships between household members and the head of household.

Research Guide to the 1870 U.S. Census
A very important census if you're researching black ancestors, since prior to 1870 slaves were not reported by name, only by age and sex.

Research Guide to the 1860 U.S. Census
Separate slave schedules include the name of each slave owner, the number of slaves owned, and the number of slaves manumitted (freed).

Research Guide to the 1850 U.S. Census
The first U.S. census to identify household members by name, although relationships to the head of household were not identified.

Digging Details from Pre-1850 U.S. Census Records
Most genealogists find their eyes glazing over when they encounter the columns and head counts of the pre-1850 census enumerations. When used together, however, these early U.S. census records can often provide important clues to early American families.

special federal census schedules

us census enumeration maps

U.S. Census Bureau
The U.S. Census Bureau does not provide genealogical information.  They do, however, have a lot of interesting information on the Census available.

U.S. Historical Census Data Browser
The census data presented here includes the questions from the 1790 to 1970 decennial federal censuses (not specific to individual households). You can browse demographic information at the national, state, or county level.

USGenWeb Census Project
This volunteer project was begun in 1997 with the mission of transcribing all of the U.S. Federal Censuses. 

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