US Census


us-flagSearch ALL of the United States Federal Census Records by CLICKING HERE, or search by YEAR by clicking the links below:

1850 US Census
1860 US Census
1870 US Census
1880 US Census

1890 US Census Fragment
(much of this census was destroyed by fire)

1900 US Census
1910 US Census
1920 US Census
1930 US Census
1940 US Census

The first full census taken after the ratification of the Constitution of the United States was in the year of 1790 but from that year up to and including 1840, information is not so useful to the family history researcher as only the head of the household’s name was given for those years and not the names or details of everyone living within that household.

 

cooley1850census

1850 United States Federal Census PD-USGOV-DOC-CENSUS

From 1850, the information obtained for the census grew to include the names of others living in the household, their place of birth, ages, occupation, marriage status, military service and in later censuses, details of citizenship and immigration. The 1880 census is of particular significance as it was the first one to describe the relationship of the other householders to the head of the household.

The purpose of the census is to gather and collate information or data for statistical analysis to help in planning and decision making by the administering authority (the government) and as demographics change, so the information requirement changes.

You should be aware that information recorded varied from state to state depending on the year in question and on the questions asked. The census is also to enable division for the allocation of congressional seats. The census of the United States is conducted every 10 years by the U.S. State Census Bureau.

As the need for more information increased, the inquiries of each census grew more numerous, and by 1890 a mechanized process had to be applied to handle all the data. The 1890 census was actually mostly destroyed by fire in the Commerce Building in Washington in 1921. However, by using details from various other records, an alternative has been pieced together.

Although the census takes place every 10 years, there is a privacy rule restricting access for 72 years after the census has been taken.

There are many U.S. Federal Census records available to view online and you might wish to begin by searching them here:

United States Federal Census Records

neebe1910census

1910 United States Federal Census PD-USGOV-DOC-CENSUS

 

What You Will Find On The Census Records

Below are the details that you can expect to find in the first four censuses that are of interest to the family history researcher. As you will appreciate, the censuses are highly valued sources of information that will enable you to start building a picture of your ancestors and how they lived their lives. Where they lived (perhaps the building still exists?), who the family members were at the time, where they were born, what they did for a living etc.

As you pick up a family again in the following census 10 years later, you will see what’s changed over the previous decade. Eg who’s left the family home (they may have left to marry and set up their home nearby), if there are any ‘new additions’, if the occupations have changed (maybe indicating a change in economic fortunes) etc. It’s a little like stepping back in time and really will connect you to those you’re researching.

 

1850 United States Federal Census
First US census to record names of all the individuals within a household. Enumerators were requested to include the following inquiries:

Name
Age
Sex
Color
Place of Birth
Occupation (males over 15 years old)
Real estate value (if applicable)
Ability to Read and Write (if over the age of 20)
School attendance (within previous year).

Separate enumeration of slaves (Slave Schedules) during this census but very few names recorded.

1850uscensus

——————————————————————————-

1860 United States Federal Census
Enumerators were requested to include the following inquiries:

Name
Age
Sex
Color
Place of Birth
Occupation (males over 15 years old)
Real estate value (if applicable)
Ability to Read or Speak English
School attendance (within previous year).
Marriage within the previous year
Deaf, dumb, blind or insane
Pauper
Convict

Separate enumeration of slaves (Slave Schedules) during this census but very few names recorded.

1860uscensus

——————————————————————————-

1870 United States Federal Census
Enumerators were requested to include the following inquiries:

Name
Age
Sex
Color
Place of Birth
Profession
Occupation or Trade(all males and females)
Real estate value (if applicable)
Whether mother and father were born outside of the USA
If born or married within the last year
Ability to Read or Speak English
School attendance (within previous year).
Marriage within the previous year
Deaf, dumb, blind or insane or idiotic
Pauper
Convict

Separate enumeration of slaves (Slave Schedules) during this census but very few names recorded.

1870uscensus

———————————————————————————-

1880 United States Federal Census
As above, but importantly this was the first to US census to give the relationship of the individuals in the household to the head of the household.

1880uscensus

———————————————————————————-

The information requested by the census enumerators for each of the census years from 1840 to 1940 will be available here very soon. Watch this space!

PLEASE SHARE