Genealogy: 1890 Census birth year reference chart

census birth yearBy Barry J. Ewell
As you track your ancestor through the U.S. Federal Population Censuses, you can use age to help you

  • Identify individual members of the family
  • Provide clues to confirm I have the right person/family unit as you search each census
  • Provide clues as to relationship in the family
  • Provide clues if I have the right female when surnames change through marriage
  • Provide clues when people use nicknames and other name variations from one census to the next

I have prepared a birth year reference chart for each census to help you identify an estimated birth year for each ancestor.  This article will focus on the 1890 U.S. Federal Population Census.

Learn more about information about age found in the census:

1890 U.S. Census birth year reference chart
In the 1890 US Population Census, learn the age of each member of the household.  The following chart will provide the approximate corresponding birth year for the age provided.

Age calculated as of June 1, 1890.

AgeBirth YearAgeBirth YearAgeBirth Year
May 0/121890281862671823
Apr 1/121890291861681822
Mar 2/121890301860691821
Feb 3/121890311859701820
Jan 4/121890321858711819
Dec 5/121889331857721818
Nov 6/121889341856731817
Oct 7/121889351855741816
Sep 8/121889361854751815
Aug 9/121889371853761814
Jul 10/121889381852771813
Jun 11/121889391851781812
11889401850791811
21888411849801810
31887421848811809
41886431847821808
51885441846831807
61884451845841806
71883461844851805
81882471843861804
91881481842871803
101880491841881802
111879501840891801
121878511839901800
131877521838911799
141876531837921798
151875541836931797
161874551835941796
171873561834951795
181872571833961794
191871581832971793
201870591831981792
211869601830991791
2218686118291001790
2318676218281011789
2418666318271021788
2518656418261031787
2618646518251041786
2718636618241051785

Census taker instructions for age on 1890 Census
The following are the exact instructions given to census taker (enumerator):

6. Age at nearest birthday. If under one year, give age in months.-Write the age in figures at nearest birthday in whole years, omitting months and days, for each person of one year of age or over. For children who on the 1st of June, 1890, were less than one year of age, give the age in months, or twelfths of a year, thus: 3/12, 7/12, 10/12. For a child less than one month old, state the age as follows: 0/12. The exact years of age for all persons one year old or over should be given whenever it can be obtained. In any event, do not accept the answer “Don’t know,” but ascertain as nearly as possible the approximate age of each person. The general tendency of persons in giving their ages is to use the round numbers, as 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, etc. It the age is given as “about 25,” determine, if possible, whether the age should be entered as 24, 25, or 26. Particular attention should be paid to this, otherwise it will be found when the results are aggregated in this office that a much more than normal number of persons have been reported as 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, etc., years of age, and a much less than normal at 19, 21, 24, 26, 29, 31, etc.