[ Contents | Getting Started | Census Records | Naturalization Records | Researching Passenger Arrival in the United States ]

Census Records

To help you find more information about your ancestors, you should research all Federal and State Census records. These census records can be found on microfilm at all LDS FHC Libraries (Latter-day Saints Family History Center Libraries), the National Archives, many large state libraries, and some local libraries. Call your library for more information.

You can order Census records from the LDS FHC for about $3.25 a microfilm ordered from their main library in Salt Lake City. (call 800-346-6044 for a location of a local library near you). You can also use the AGLL system with your library to order Census records. AGLL - American Genealogical Lending Library - Go to the web site at http://www.heritagequest.com

If a regional National Archives office exists near you, check it for what census records they have on microfilm.

The first Federal Census was in 1790 and every ten years after. The 1920 Federal Census is the latest one available. Because of privacy laws, census records are only released every 72 years. The census records for 1930-1990 are still confidential, but you can obtain information for a deceased relative with proof of death, or living relative if you have written permission. For a search write for form BC-600 (Application for Search of Census Records) to US Dept of Commerce, PO Box 1545, Jefferson, IN 47131. You can e-mail your request for Form BC-600 to: mary.lee.eldridge@ccmail.census.gov. Cost is $40 a person, and an extra $10 for the entire line for Genealogical use.

You should start your research with the 1920 Federal Census. The 1920 Federal Census was taken in January and is available for every state and territory of the US. The census contains:

The 1920 Census has a Soundex which makes it easy to use. Soundex System is an Indexing system that was formulated by the federal government with Remington Rand Corp in the 1930s under President Roosevelt's Works Program during the depression. The system allow names that sounded alike, but were spelled differently, to be indexed together. A code number was assigned to consonants but the vowels were ignored. The first letter of the surname was retained for the code and was followed by only three numbers (obtained from the letters in the surname).

Soundex Code:

Code Key Letter and Equivalents:

Therefore the name Kowalczyk would be coded as K422.

Go to:

The national archives has information on the Soundex also at http://www.nara.gov/genealogy. Check out the Rand Genealogy Club Web Site to get the Soundex for your surname. Found at Web Sites: Soundex Converter and NARA Microfilm Roll Finder is at http://www.cimorelli.com/vbclient/soundex2.htm

The 1910 Federal Census was taken on April 15th. It identifies each person's name and relationship to the head of the house, sex, race, age at last birthday, marital status; mother's number of children and number living, birthplace, parents' birthplace, if foreign born, year of immigration and citizenship, language, occupation, employed, able to read and write, home rented/owned/mortgaged, house or farm, veteran of Union or Confederate army/navy, blind, deaf and dumb, Indian tribe. It is not indexed and not soundexed for many states. Only 21 have an index.

The following states are Indexed for the 1910 census: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. For all other states, researchers must rely on city directories, enumeration districts or special street indexes.

The 1900 Federal Census was done on 1 June. It provides the names of each person in the household and their relationship, race, sex, month and year of birth, age at last birthday, marital status, years married, number of children born and living, if foreign born, place of birth of each person and parents, year of immigration and number of years in US, citizenship status, occupation, read/write, language, home rented/owned, address, home/farm. It is soundexed. Some Indian records are found at the end of the census.

1900 and 1920 are the best census records to use to start your research.

Most of the 1890 census was destroyed by a fire in 1921. Less than 1% survived. There are some records for Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Dakota, and Texas. Check at the LDS for what counties in these states the records are for.

The 1880 census was done on 1 June. The census gave the name of each person in the household and relationship, race, sex, age, month and year born, martial status, occupation, place of birth, parents' birthplace, address, read/write if over 10, disabled. Individuals who were born or died after 1 June 1880 were not included. Special Indian schedule: it is indexed alphabetically by family name (but only for those families who had children 10yrs or younger). It is soundexed.

The 1870 Federal Census was done on 1 June. It asks for the name of each person in the house, age at last birthday, sex, race, place of birth, state or territory in US or country if foreign born, parents birth place, any male citizen age 21 and older whose right to vote was denied, could read, disabled, occupation. It asked for a value of the real estate and personal property. This was the first census to include Blacks, and any adult male not in it probably did not survive the Civil War. Indians were also included. The 1870 census also included parents place of birth.

1860 census gave each free person's name, age, sex, place of birth, value of each free person's personal estate, occupation, whether married within the year, school attendance, literacy, whether deaf and dumb, blind, insane, idiotic, pauper or convict. Number of slaves.

The 1850 census is the first to include entire households rather than just the head of the house. Each person's name, age, occupation of those over 15, place of birth, and value of the estate, whether married within the year, schooling, literacy, pauper or convict. Slave schedules give no names, just age and sex, black or mulatto. This census is computerized at the LDS FHC library.

1840 census was the first to ask about pensioners for Revolutionary or military service. It asked name of head of household, age, sex, race, deaf, dumb, blind, insane, idiotic and whether public charge. Number of persons in each family employed.

1830 census asked for name of head of family, age, sex, race, deaf, dumb, blind, slaves and foreigners not naturalized in household.

1820 census asked for name of head of family, age, sex, race, foreigners not naturalized in the household, slaves, industry working in.

1810 census asked for name of head of family, age, sex, race, and slaves.

1800 census asked for name of head of family, age, sex, race, and slaves.

1790 census asked for name of head of family, free white males, free white females, salves and other persons in the household.

Mortality Schedules are found in the census of 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1885. They have information about persons who died in the 12 months immediately preceding the enumeration. There are schedules for deaths from 1 June – 31, May 1849-1850, 1859-1860, 1869-1870, 1884-1885. They asked for name, sex, age, color, widowed, place of birth, month of death, cause of death, occupation.

[ Contents | Getting Started | Census Records | Naturalization Records | Researching Passenger Arrival in the United States ]

Local Links:

Icon genealogy mailing list
Icon Genealogy
Icon InfoUkes Home Page

Document Information

Document URL: http://www.infoukes.com/genealogy/primer/census.html

Copyright © 1999-2000 Susanne M. Saether
E-mail: GFSSusanne@aol.com

Copyright © 1999-2000 InfoUkes Inc.
E-mail: webmaster@infoukes.com

since Jan 16th 2000
InfoUkes Inc.
Suite 185, 3044 Bloor Street West
Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada M8X 2Y8
Tel: (416) 236-4865 Fax: (416) 766-5704

Originally Composed: Sunday Oct 3rd, 1999.
Date last modified: Sunday Jan 16th, 2000.