Genealogy: 1900 U.S. federal census tutorial

1900 masteheadBy Barry J. Ewell

This is a comprehensive tutorial for researching the 1900 U.S. federal census. You will be introduced to what I have used and shared with thousands to successfully find generations of family. Begin by learning how to use the census as a foundation to effective research, identify, map, and follow family through generations.

The tutorial will expand your knowledge and skills of how to conduct an exhaustive search to find genealogical and Family History records, repositories, resolve research problems and connect with resources researching similar lines.

The tutorial is divided into the following sections:

  • 1790-1940 U.S federal census resources
  • Introduction to 1900 U.S. federal census
  •  How to effectively use the 1900 U.S. federal census
  • Expand your census research with military records
  • Defining the U.S. federal census
  • How to use the 1900 U.S. federal census
  •  Questions asked on the 1900 census

1900 resources
Click on any of the following years and you will be taken to that years’ census tutorial:

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  • U.S. census learning aids. Throughout the 1900 U.S. federal census tutorial find links to resources that I have specifically prepared to help you. In addition, I have written and assembled 190+ articles and resource aids to provide you a more in-depth understanding of the census research process.  I have tried to cover every possible question and angle that you are likely to face in your U.S. census research.  I would encourage you to use the resources often.  The category headings are as follows:
    • 190+ U.S. federal census articles and resource aids
      • U.S. federal census tutorials
      • Census and genealogy forms
      • Census research skills
      • Follow ancestors through the census
      • Researching names in the census
      • Defining ancestor age
      • Expanding census research to other resources
      • Expand your census research with military records
      • Census research best practices

1900 introduction
The following are a few of the details that are important to understand about the 1900 U.S. Federal census:

1900 Census MapNumber of persons included in the 1900 census: 76,212,168 people were living in the United States.

1900 census day:  June 1, 1900
1900 census duration: 1 month for rural districts or two weeks for populations over 8,000
1900 census geography:

  • States and territories enumerated: 45 states and six territories where included in the census.
  • New states: The newest state included the in 1900 census was Utah
  • Territories included: Arizona, New Mexico, Montana, Alaska, Oklahoma  and Indian
  • The available states include: Alabama, Alaska (unorganized), Arizona Territory, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico Territory, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma Territory, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin

A few important facts about the 1900 census include:

  • Numeration date. The numeration date is June 1, 1900 with one month to complete the census which resulted in less people being missed as in prior census periods.
  • President during census. William McKinley
  • 1900 census importance. Remember most of the 1890 census was destroyed by fire.  The 1900 census is critical to helping us put the family is location.  By 1900 states, counties, and communities were creating many types of source documents that you as a researcher will be able to find and search (e.g., death records, birth records, land records, state census’, etc.) to help you fill in the 20 year gap between 1880 and 1900 census. Don’t take the search for all available records lightly.  You will need as much information/clues as possible to help you bridge to the next available census and resolve any research issues that may arise.
  • Seven schedules. Seven schedules were prepared for the 1900 census. They included:
    • Schedule 1: Population(General population)
    • Schedule 2: Population ( Native Americans) – Look first for the Indian schedules at the end of the county schedule and second at the end of the state schedule.
    • Schedule 3: Agriculture
    • Schedule 4: Manufacturing
    • Schedule 5: Mortality
    • Schedule 6: Social Statistics
    • Schedule 7: Crime
    • Special Note:  In my research to find the schedules, I have read and learned from genealogy colleagues that schedules 3-7 were abstracted for their data and then destroyed.
    • See the article: Census Records—There is more than population schedules
  • Census privacy. The 1900 census were ordered to keep the answers to the census strictly private and could not share the information with anyone.  This was the beginning of 72 year privacy rule.  The general public would not be allowed to view the content of the census for 72 years.
  • Enumerators. The following are a few interesting facts about the enumerators:
    • Enumerators were more closely supervised than any previous census.  For example, in the larger cities special agents were hired to assist the census supervisor.
    • Enumerators used “street books” to record their daily work.
    • Enumerators used individual census slips for obtaining a correct return for any person (particularly lodgers and boarders) absent at the time of the enumerator’s visit.
    • “Absent family” schedules were used for securing a complete record for any person residing within the enumeration district, but temporarily absent.
  • Enumeration Districts. The Census Bureau set up “Enumeration Districts” which were charted out on maps.  The United States and territories were divided into 297 supervisor’s districts that were sub-divided into 52,726 enumeration districts.
  • Special enumerations. There were special enumerations noted as follows:
    • Enumeration of military and naval personnel (within the country and abroad) was conducted through the Departments of War and the Navy.
    • Enumeration of the “Indian Territory” was carried out in cooperation with the Commissioner of Indian Affairs.
    • Special “institution” enumerators were appointed for large institutions such as prisons, hospitals, and so forth.
  • Columns for month and year. This is the only census which provides columns for month and year that allows the researcher to more accurately get the age and birth date for individuals listed in the census.
  • Property information.  This is the first census to provide details about the status of whether the property was owned, rented or mortgaged.
  • Marriage information. Census lists the number of years a couple was married.
  • Birth and death records.  In 1900 most counties began to record vital records (birth and death).  By 1925 vital records were recorded in all U.S. counties
  • Soundex.  I have found the Soundex to be very helpful in searching for names that sound alike such as Ewell and Yule or Steward and Stuart but are spelled differently.  It uses a numbering system for letters which allows the name to be indexed by the way it sounds and not the way it is spelled.  I have used Soundex for parts of the 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 United States federal censuses. If you are not able to find your family through online search tools/engines, turn to the Soundex.  Tools such as Ancestry.com and MyHeritage feature the Soundex for their database.  The 1900 census Soundex was prepared by the Work Projects Administration from the 1930’s. Filecards contained information that was abstracted from the 1900 census.  See the article:
  • Oklahoma. Oklahoma census schedules and Soundex indexes ae split between Oklahoma Territory to the Northwest, and Indian Territory to the Southeast.
  • Citizens living abroad.  This was the first census were U.S. citizens (e.g., Armed Forces, Government civilian employees and households)were enumerated.)  The military and navy census also includes the information about the servicemen:
    • Name of military , naval station, or vessel
    • Company of troop, regiment, and arm of service
    • Rank grade or class
    • Residence in the United States
  • Where to find Native American Schedules. Look first for the Indian schedules at the end of the county schedule and second at the end of the state schedule.  This census schedule also includes the following information:
    • Indian name
    • Tribe of the individual and names of their parents
    • Percentage of white blood
    • If married, whether living in polygamy
    • Whether taxed
    • Year of citizenship
    • Whether citizenship was acquired by land allotment.
  • Dates and places.  The 1900 census is very important for providing you dates and places to search for marriage records, birth records of children, and deaths of children.
  • Territory of Alaska. The territory of Alaska census also includes the following information:
    • Tribe and Clan
    • Date of locating to Alaska
    • Occupation in Alaska
    • Post office address at home
  • First U.S. census outside of continental United States.  This was the first census where the United States conducted census outside of the continental U.S.
    • American Samoa. The United States acquired American Samoa in 1900.  In 1901 a census was conducted by the local government.  From 1920, American Samoa has been included in the U.S. censuses
    • Guam. The United States occupied Guam in 1899.  In 1901 a census was conducted and at various other times to 1920.  Since 1920, Guam has been included in the U.S. Federal censuses.
    • Hawaii. Hawaii was annexed by the U.S. in 1898.  The local government had taken a census every six years from 1866-1896.  They were included in the 1900 census.  This census also included a request for information on the year of immigration and number of years lived in the Hawaiian Islands.
    • Panama Canal Zone. The United States took control of the Panama Canal Zone in 1904 at which time the Isthmian Canal Commission ordered a census.  Another census was ordered in 1912 and at other times.  The United States included the Canal Zone in its Federal censuses from 1920-1970.  The Republic of Panama took complete control of the Canal Zone in 1979.
    • Philippine Islands. The accession of Philippine Islands by the United States took place in 1898.  One census was taken at the direction of Philippine Commission in 1903.  Spain conducted period censuses between 1818 and 1887. In 1918 the Philippine Legislature requested a census.   The Philippine Islands had Commonwealth status until 1946 until it became independent republic.  As a Commonwealth period enumerations were taken after 1939.
    • Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico was acquired from the Spain in 1898. The War Department carried out the enumeration in 1899 and been included in the normal Federal census since 1910.  Puerto Rico has had US commonwealth status since 1952.  Spain conducted period censuses between 1765 and 1887.

1900 use
Learn how to use the census to effectively find generations of family.  Use the information and clues provided to build out your family tree and expand your research. I have provided a comprehensive review of each question that includes research insights, tips and tricks, and must know information to aid your research.

  •  Location and Dwelling number (Col. 1 -2). We are provided with the city/town/village/borough, county, and state where the family resides. This can help in defining geographic areas to search for family and records.
    • Counted in order. The dwelling was the number of houses that were counted.
    • Cities only. The census taker recorded the following for those living in the city: Name of street, house number, dwelling number in order of visitation, and family number in order of visitation.
    • Top of the form. At the top of every census form we are provided with the following information: State, county, township or division of county (e.g., township, town, precinct, district or other civil division), name of institution, ward of city, supervisor’s district number, enumeration district number and enumeration date and enumerator.
    • 1880-1900 census gap. Remember most of the 1890 census was destroyed by fire.  The 1900 census is critical to helping us put the family is location.  By 1900 states, counties, and communities were creating many types of source documents that you as a researcher will be able to find and search (e.g., death records, birth records, land records, state census’, etc.) to help you fill in the 20 year gap between 1880 and 1900 census.
    • Name of street and number in urban areas. This is the first census to provide the name of the street and house number in urban areas
    • Societies. Search for a historical and/or genealogical society in the county to learn about community, records developed at the time you family lived in the area, connect with other genealogists who are researching the same surname, groups (i.e., church) to which your family belonged.
    • Use the location. Use the location to look for resources such as churches, cemeteries, courthouses.
    • Modern day repositories. Use the location to identify locations of modern day record repositories that are near the place you family lived (e.g., historical societies, genealogical societies, libraries, archives, court houses.)
  •  Family Number (Col. 3). This was the actual number of families counted.
    • Order of household visited. The census is recorded in the order of households visited. Take special note of the dwelling location versus the family number. For example, you could have dwelling 1 and dwelling 2, but for dwelling two you could have families 2, 3 and 4 living in the dwelling 2.  This could be an apartment building or several families living in the same home.  If you have people living in the same building, we need to be asking how they are related.
    • Circle of influence. You can begin to build the circle of influence for your ancestors by seeing who the neighbors were.
    • Search the neighbors. Often neighbors move with neighbors.  Are they the same family? Members of the same congregation? Friends?  If you can’t follow family or find the family in the census, see if you can follow neighbors. Are the given names similar among the neighbors and your family? Similar names run in families.  This might be a clue that they are more than just neighbors. It has been my experience that neighbors, even when they don’t share the same name are related.  Look for the neighbors being the wife’s parents, sister of the husband, siblings of the wife, aunts and uncles and so forth.  When I couldn’t find my ancestors in location, I have searched on the names of know neighbors to find my family. Make sure you include the names of neighbors in your family profile.
  • Composition of the household (Col. 4). Provides members of the household by name.
    • As of June 1900.  List the persons who lived in the home as of June 1900.
    • Individual names. Individual names for those in the household.
    • List order. As a general format family members are listed in the following order: husband, wife, children by age, parents, brothers, sisters, and so forth.
    • Death or birth after June 1, 1900. Individuals who died or birth of children born after June 1, 1900 were not included in the census.
    • Migration 1880-1900 and finding records.  From 1880-1900, families are on the move. Don’t be surprised if you are finding your family living in different locations with each census within the same county, state and region.  Each place they lived will be cause to search for records.  The following is the process I have used for using the family migration patterns between 1860-1900 to research and find records.  See the article, ” Using 1860-1900 migration patterns to find records.”
    • Military records.  Make sure you search all the males in our family over of 1 year old for military records associated with possible service in the U.S. Military service.  Yes you read right when I said 1 year old.  Individuals who are 1 will most like be involved in the WWI.  The military service periods can include: Civil War (1861-1865), Indian Wars (before 1890), Spanish American War (1898). For example, by 1880, many war veterans and/or hires are starting to receive pensions. Search out the military records on not only your direct line but also male siblings, uncles, brother-in-laws, and cousins.  I have found important information about my direct line when reviewing the pension files of extended family. See the category “Search military records.”
    • Follow family through the census. Make it a priority to follow your family through censuses during their lifetime (e.g., federal, state, territorial, and local censuses) as well as census schedules if they exist (e.g., population, agriculture, manufacturing, social statistics, crime, mortality, veterans, slave.) The following articles will provide you a detailed example of following a family through the census.  See the articles:
    • Check original census. Always seek to see the images of the original census to compare against the transcription.
    • Search same surname. Look closely at persons with the same surname. Could they be a relative? Does the individual show up as a child in earlier census?  Search other records such as deeds, wills to see if the person shows up. Could individuals be in-laws? Check marriages of entire town, neighboring towns and county for husbands of sisters, aunts, and mothers.
    • Search pages before and after the listing of your ancestors. I have found it important to search for the surname several pages before and after the page where you find your family. This can also help in suggesting relationships between neighbors. Look for added clues such as given first names, occupations, places of origin.  When I contact the genealogical/historical societies, I have often sought to find the genealogists who are researching these surnames to compare research.
    • Extract all with same surname. Make it a practice to extract all the persons with the same surname living in the same county.  Are they family? They could be family connection or related connection such as where they came from.  If your family lives near a state our county border, go ahead and extract the persons with the same surnames from neighboring counties.  I have usually found important clues and connections among those with the same surname that has enhanced my research.
    • Nicknames. If you ancestor use a nickname, check to see if you can find the alternate names.  See the articles:
  • Relationship (Col. 5).  The census that asked for relationship to head of household.
    • Family relationship titles.  In this census you will be seeing titles such as husband, wife, son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter, niece, nephew and so forth. When you see titles such as niece, nephew, uncle, aunt, you will still need to some investigation to understand which side of the family they belong. As you connect research from other census years, this will become clearer.
    • Non family titles. If the family isn’t related to the family, you will see titles like none, hired, servant, and so forth.
    • Wife many not be the mother of children.  Take special note of the wife as to whether she really is the mother of the children. Look at age gaps between children.  Is the age cap normal? For example, every two years.  Are the age gaps larger than expected? This could be a clue that there was another child or spouse that had passed away.  Look at age of husband and wife.  Are they about the same age? Is one spouse much older than the other?  If yes, this could be a clue that there is second marriage. Look at the ages of children and the place of birth.  This might provide clues of where the parents were married or from where the family migrated.
    • Discovering unknown surnames. The relationships column has been helpful in discovering previously unknown surnames for married daughters, mother-in-law, cousins, and other relatives living with the family.
    • Research all relationships. Make sure that you research all the relationships of your ancestors which include the siblings and their families (i.e., spouses, children), aunts and uncles, grandparents and even cousins.  As you build out the family tree, you will discover key pieces of information about your direct line when searching extended family.  For example, when I couldn’t find information about who were the parents of my direct line in the late 1800’s, I was able to learn the information from research I did on siblings.
  • Color (Col. 6). In this census these were the choices enumerators used for color White (W), Black (B), Chinese (Ch), Japanese (JP), Indian (IN).  This information may be helpful in determining the person’s origins.
  • Sex (Col. 7). You will either see (M) for male and (F) for female.
  • Month and year of birth (Col. 8-9). This is the only census which provides columns for month and year that allows the researcher to more accurately get the age and birth date for individuals listed in the census.
    • Vital records. In 1900 most counties began to record vital records (birth and death).  By 1925 vital records were recorded in all U.S. counties.
    • Finding death records. It is probable that you will be able to find a death record for most persons living at this time.
    • Compare the birth-year and age that are given.  Double check to make sure the birth-year and age line up and that there no inconsistencies. If you uncover a problem, look at other censuses and records to arrive at the correct age/birth year.
  • Age at last birthday (Col. 10). This is not an exact date of birth, but it will provide a “ballpark” number that you can use in the help you track the person in the next census and search for birth event records of the time period.
    • Children under the age of 1. Children under the age of 1 were represented months as fractions such as 1/12 meaning 1 month, 4/12 meaning for months.
    • Search other records. There are good chances that many individuals listed in this census did not have civil birth records. I would always first check to see if there are birth records, and then look for church records. Start your search for these types of records at the genealogical/historical society.
    • Age gaps. Look at age gaps between children.  Is the age cap normal? For example, every two years.  Are the age gaps larger than expected? This could be a clue that there was another child or spouse that had passed away.  Look at age of husband and wife.  Are they about the same age? Is one spouse much older than the other?  If yes, this could be a clue that there is second marriage. Look at the ages of children and the place of birth.  This might provide clues of where the parents were married or from where the family migrated.
    • Children with same age.  If you find children who are the same age, don’t just assume they are twins. Make sure they are not cousins who are being raised in the same home.
    • See the article: 1900 U.S. Census birth year reference chart
  • Marital status (Col. 11-12).  In this series of columns weare told whether the person is single (s), married (M),  widowed (Wd) or divorced (D).
    • Widowed.  If the person is widowed, consider looking for wills and probate records, military pensions, death event records of a spouse.
    • Divorced. If the person is divorced search court records for divorced proceedings.
    • Number of years married. The 1900 census is the first and only census to ask how many years the couples were married.  Start by searching the county /state civic records in the location where you find the family to see if the marriages were recorded. Next search the church records of the same location. If you see a fraction such as 4/12, it means that the couple was married four months earlier.
  • Mother of how many children and living children (Col. 13-14). The 1900 census is also the only census to ask the number of children born to the mother and how many were still living.
    • Comparing number of children vs living children. Carefully compare the number of children a mother has vs those living.   You will be able to identify if any children had died.  Since it has been 20 years since the last real useable Federal census (1880 census) you are going to have to do a little more investigation to try and find the name of the missing child. First look at the number of years the couple has been married; this will give you a time-frame to begin your search. To find who the missing child/children try the following: 1) Ask first if there are vital records located in location where your family lived and what year they began. If they exist, try searching first for death and then birth records.  2) Search for church records.  In the church records, search for christening, baptism, death and/or other related records. 3) Search cemetery records.  I will search for all records with the last name of the family.  Don’t automatically to expect the child’s grave to be with family. 4) Check to see if there are school records that exist for family.  This can include records such as school census and school attendance rolls.  5) Check for to see if state/local census’ have been conducted for the time frame you are searching.  You may find the name of the missing child listed.
    • Caution about marriages.  Always be asking the question, “Is this a first, second, or even third marriage for either spouse?”  Take special note of the wife as to whether she really is the mother of the children. Look at age gaps between children.  Is the age cap normal? For example, every two years.  Are the age gaps larger than expected? This could be a clue that there was another child or spouse that had passed away.  Look at age of husband and wife.  Are they about the same age? Is one spouse much older than the other?  If yes, this could be a clue that there is second marriage. Look at the ages of children and the place of birth.  This might provide clues of where the parents were married or from where the family migrated.
  • Place of birth (Col. 15-17). This census provides the birthplace of each person along with the birthplaces for each parent.
    • Father and mothers place of birth. This information is critical to helping you develop scenarios of where to search for family.
    • Narrow search. Use this information to narrow your search for records to geographic area even town. Also very helpful with clues to immigration and/or migration.
    • Numerator accuracy. Numerators only recorded the information that they were provided by the person being interviewed. For whatever reason, ancestors did not provide accurate answers to this type of question because of prejudices associated with this time period.
    • Numerator code. When the enumerator recorded place of birth they could have used a two letter code for a state or they could have written the name of the state out or another abbreviation.  For example North Dakota could have been written as ND, North Dakota.
  • Occupation (Col. 21-22). This indicates the person’s occupation and related information can help one search for employment records.
    • Over age 15. The occupation was recorded for persons over age 15.
    • Professional directories. When occupations are mentioned, search for occupational directories. Directories can list as little as a name to entire profiles of families.
    • Occupation/trade. Look carefully at the person’s occupation/trade and define what types of records that might exist. I had an ancestor who was a merchant which led me to look for a business license, business/professional directory, ads for his business in the newspaper and related documents all of which I found. Another genealogist, had ancestor who was a member of the clergy which led them to search and find church records.
    • Supplemental schedules. Use the occupation to provide clues as to other information that may be recorded in the supplemental schedules (i.e., Agriculture, Manufactures.)  For example, if the person was a farmer, make sure you look at Schedule 3, “Agricultural Census” for more information about the family. If the person was a saw or grist miller, cheese maker, or other “manufacturer,” the researcher should check the manufacturing census schedules.
  • Education (Col. 23-26). This identifies if the person had gone to school within the year (i.e., June 2, 1899 to June 1, 1900.)This will provide clues to look for school records that can associate children with parents.  Look for records such as school census.
    • Cannot read and write. Use this information to confirm that you have the right person when searching other records. For example, you are searching wills of individuals with the same name of as your ancestor. The census records said that your ancestor could read and write. You find the wills of two persons with the same name. One marked his will with an X the other signed his name on the will.  The person using the X most likely couldn’t read or write. Since you are looking for a person who could read and write, the X should raise caution flags that this person may not be the person you are looking for.
    • Can speak English.  If a person cannot speak English, it may be a clue that the person is an immigrant.  Look closely at the census columns 18-20 as they are related to citizenship.
  • Home ownership (Col. 27-29). This is the first census to provide details about the status of whether the property was owned, rented or mortgaged.
    • Real estate value. Real value can be a good clue to finding tax and land records.

1900 Military
Even though there is no information in the 1900 census that identifying veterans of war, there are still men living who served in one or more military wars and conflicts.  The records available for these men vary but can yield important clues and knowledge about the veteran and his family. For example:

  • Pension applications. Search for pension applications and records of pension payments for veterans, their widows, and other heirs. The pension applications usually provide the most information and can include supporting documents such as marriage, birth, and dead records/certificates, pages from family Bibles, family letters, dispositions of witnesses, affidavits, discharge papers and other supporting documents. Even if you ancestor did not receive a pension, look to see if his pension request was denied.
  • Search family photographs and artifacts. Family photographs can be a great source for identifying which persons were involved in which war or military conflict they may have served.  It is rare to individuals serving in the military not have their photograph in their uniform. You may also find cards, letters, and related military memorabilia. I have also found the local newspaper to be a rich source information about family during periods of war.

Start your search by looking for these military records:

Wars Early Indian Wars 1815-1858. Look for military records of men serving in the Early Indian Wars who are 60+ in the 1900 census. These men would have been born prior to 1840. See the article:

Mexican War 1846-1848. Look for military records of men serving in the Mexican Wars who are 70+ in the 1900 census.  These men would have been born prior to 1832. See the article:

Civil War 1861-1865. Look for military records of men who would have served in the U.S. Civil War who are 50+ in the 1900 census.  These men would have been born in 1855 and earlier.  Keep in mind that many young men lied about their age and served with their father, brother (s), or other family members.  If your ancestor lived in the Union or Confederate states that they could have very easily served in their army. Many men who were in the Union served in the Confederacy. And there are many men from the South that served in the Union Army. Make sure that you search for all male members of the family (i.e., father, sons, brothers, uncles, and nephews.)  The Civil War enlistment card will give you clues of your ancestor’s location and place of residence. See the articles:

Later Indian Wars (Before 1890). Look for military records of men serving in the later Indian Wars who are 20+ in the 1900 census. These men would have been born prior to 1880.

Spanish American War 1898. Look for military records of men serving in the Spanish American War who are 20+ in the 1900 census. These men would have been born prior to 1880.

World War I 1917-1919. Be aware that many of the males who are between the ages of 1-20 in the 1900 census will most like be involved in the future World War I. In addition many of the males who are under the age of 10 years old in the 1900 census will most like be involved or register for the draft in the future World War II. See the articles:

 Researching military headstones. Military headstones have evolved through time. See the following articles for details:

1900 Defining
A census is a government-sponsored enumeration of the population in a particular area and contains a variety of information — names, heads of household (or all household members), ages, citizenship status, ethnic background, and so on. Here are some different types of census records you are likely to come across in your research.

U.S. federal census is also called a population schedule. Federal census records provide the building blocks of your research, allowing you to both confirm information and to learn more. Compiled in the United States for every decade since 1790, census population schedules are comprehensive, detailed records of the federal government’s decennial survey of American households. Information from the schedules is used by the federal government for demographic analysis.

The schedules themselves, of interest primarily to genealogists, contain the personal information of the survey respondents. To protect the privacy of the people whose names appear in each schedule, census records are restricted for 72 years after the census is taken and are not available to researchers during that time.

j1900 using
I’ve effectively used the 1900 census to conduct find and use the following information:

  • Identify head of household
  • Identify members of household by name
  • Identify relationships—surnames of married daughter, mother-in-law, cousins, other relatives
  • Indicate that wife may not be mother of kids
  • Identify ages of individuals by name
  • Begin to establish family relationships (e.g., spouse, children, siblings, parents)
  •  Identify people of color: White (W), Indian (I) American Indian, Black (B), Chinese (C) Japanese (JP)
  • Begin to identify possible remarriages and step relationships
  • Identify birthplace of parents-immigrant information
  • Supplement birth/marriage info. Due to relationship info.
  • Locate and identify birthplaces
  • Identify month of birth
  • Identify year of marriage
  • Determine year of immigration
  • Identify occupations
  • Locate and identify real estate
  • Find information in various schedules that include: Population, agriculture, industry and mortality
  • Locate and identify family who are neighbors
  • dentify spelling variations
  • Locate and identify family in other census substitute records (e.g., probate inventories, tax lists)
  • Locate and identify children not yet known
  • Locate and identify possible parents
  • Locate and identify possible children not listed in later censuses
  • Differentiate between families of the same name
  • Locate and identify possible neighbors who might be family
  • Give clues to genetic symptoms or diseases

See the article: Build a family profile

1900 questions 2

The following are the questions found in the 1900 U.S. federal census:

LOCATION
Col. 1: Street & House No.
Col. 2: Dwelling No.
Col. 3: Family No.

NAME
Col. 4: Name of each person whose place of abode on June 1, 1900 was in this family

PERSONAL DESCRIPTION
Col. 5: Relation to head of family
Col. 6: Color
Col. 7: Sex
Col. 8: Month of birth
Col. 9: Year of birth
Col. 10: Age at last birthday
Col. 11: Single, married, widowed, divorced
Col. 12: No. of years married
Col. 13: Mother of how many children
Col. 14: Number of these children living

NATIVITY
Col. 15: Place of birth
Col. 16: Place of birth of father
Col. 17: Place of birth of mother

CITIZENSHIP
Col. 18: Year of immigration to U.S.
Col. 19: No of years in U.S.
Col. 20: Naturalization

OCCUPATION
Col. 21: Occupation, Trade or Profession of each person ten years of age and over
Col. 22: No of months not employed

EDUCATION
Col. 23: Attended school (months)
Col. 24: Can read
Col. 25: Can write
Col. 26: Can speak English

HOME
Col. 27: Home owned free or mortgaged
Col. 28: Farm or house
Col. 29: Number of farm schedule