By Barry J. Ewell
In this article you will find an overview of the type of information you will find in the censuses and which U.S. Federal and state census records exist and are available for research.
Over the years as a genealogist, I have spent too much time looking for information about my ancestors in a record that did not exist. It never entered my mind to even ask the question, “What records existed during the time my ancestor lived in this location?” One of my earliest assumptions was that census records existed for every person for the time period in which they lived in the United States. And it wasn’t until I asked a resource librarian, why am I not finding census records for Virgina in 1790-1800, that I learned that the records were completely lost during the war of 1812. After further discussion, I learned about Virginia state censuses that were available from the late 1700’s and that the 1790 census was reconstructed using census substitute records. Continue reading
By Barry J. Ewell
State censuses were conducted by states in off years in between the Federal census. Every state was in charge of whether and when they would conduct a census. This article includes a chart the will provide an overview of the census records that are available by state. These records usually contain the same type of information as in the Federal census as well as additional questions that are unique to that state such as naturalization, military service, occupation, state and county of origin, mortality, education and voting status. Continue reading
By Barry J. Ewell
State censuses were conducted by states in off years in between the Federal census. Every state was in charge of whether and when they would conduct a census. The following chart will give the availability and year for state census records that exist post 1850. These records usually contain the same type of information as in the Federal census as well as additional questions that are unique to that state such as naturalization, military service, occupation, relationship, state and county of origin, mortality, education and voting status.
Like the Federal census, the state census is a snapshot of the home and its inhabitants at a given time. The information on the state census can be used to construct, confirm, add, and/or delete information from the family profile you have begun building from the Federal census. For example, I have used the state census to find children that were born and died in between the Federal census, confirmed deaths of wife’s, husbands and grandparents, marriages of children, new marriages for head of households, other locations to search and much more.
These censuses are located at the state archives and/or libraries (note: many are online), through microfilm at LDS Family History Centers, online transcripts of counties within a state from historical societies, and online databases such as Ancestry.com.
|State||Availability of state censuses by state before|
|Connecticut||No state census exists.|
|Delaware||No state census exists after 1850.|
|District of Columbia||1867||1878|
|Illinois||No state census exists after 1850.|
|Idaho||No state census exists.|
|Kentucky||No state census exists.|
|Maine||No state census exists after 1850.|
|Maryland||No state census exists after 1850.|
|Montana||No state census exists.|
|New Hampshire||No state census exists.|
|North Carolina||No state census exists after 1850.|
|Ohio||No state census exists.|
|Pennsylvania||No state census exists.|
|Texas||No state census exists after 1850.|
|Vermont||No state census exists.|
|Virginia||No state census exists after 1850.|
|West Virginia||No state census exists.|
|Wisconsin||No state census exists after 1850.|
Data for the above chart was compiled from information provided by each state historical society and archives.gov.