Genealogy: Searching ancestors in census substitutes

Census SubstitutesBy Barry J. Ewell
If you are having a challenging time finding individuals on actual census schedules (federal, state, or local), remember that there other record groups (census substitutes) that could prove to be quite useful.  These records tend to systematically list individuals for particular geographic areas during specific time periods.

The more challenging U.S. censuses are the 1790 to 1840 where the head of household is the only name that is listed with members of the household in the home the day of the census (e.g., family, relatives, boarders, friends, neighbors, servants, slaves) under age and other categories.

Even if you find your ancestor in the census, it could still be a good idea to look for these types of records to help expand your knowledge about your ancestor in the geographic area where they lived.

The types of records you can search for include:

Church records
Collection listsLists of paupersMembership listsPew rents
Rate rollsSubscription lists
Legislative records
MemorialsPetitions
Court records
Appointments of Justices of the peaceCommissions of officialsFreemen admissionsJury attendance lists
Jury pay listsLists of attorneysLists of constablesLists of freeholders
Lists of gamekeepersLists of jurorsLists of rejected votersLoyalty oaths
Oaths of allegianceOaths of officePoll booksRegister of freemen
Register of intended votersVoters’ listsVoters’ register
Land records
Debt booksEntries platsGround rentsHeadright claims
Heir listsImmigrant land allowancesInquisitions Devises’ listsLand grant lists
Lists of indentured servantsLotteriesPerambulationsPermits to settle
Plat mapsProcessioning listsQuitrentsSuspended land grants
Militia records
Casualty listsEnlistmentsEnrollmentsLists of males over age 16
Lists of recruitsSubstitutesLists of rejected menMilitia lists
Muster rollsMuster-in rollsMuster-out rollsPayrolls
Troop returnsWagoners’ rolls
Miscellaneous records
Lists of midwivesLists of physiciansLists of strangersManumission lists
Orphans’ registerPrisoners of warRegister of free NegroesRegister of prisoners
Register of slavesRegister of unmarried persons
School Lists
Attendance listsExamination listsMatriculation listsPupil lists
Subscription ListsTeacher listsTuition lists
Tax rolls
Assessors’ listsPersonal propertyPoll taxReal estate