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Census Records And Their Friends

One of the first documents that family historians research is the federal census records. From 1790, these historic archives offer a personal view of our past. The US Government instructed a census from each state on a county level approximately every ten years. Obtaining the original documents will indeed lead you to more direct facts about your family in a particular area. A presentation given last year on Piedmont Trails Live Chat discussed these original documents and how you can view them. The notes accompanied by the original manuscripts offer an extensive view into the mistakes often made with duplication, transcribing, and copying the data. All federal census records are copies of the original except for 1890. The law changed in 1890, requiring the originals to be submitted only. This action led to the demise of the 1890 census since a fire destroyed the majority of the material. The standard federal census is not the only census records to research. Can you name others?

Hundreds of additional census records exist throughout the United States. If you are not aware of this fact, you are missing an enormous amount of data.

Examples of these are the 1885 federal census, mortality schedules dating 1850 to 1885, and veterans schedules dating 1840 to 1890. Also, slave schedules dating 1850 to 1860, agriculture schedules dating 1840 to 1910, manufacture schedules dating 1810 to 1880, and social statistics dating 1850 to 1880. Individual state census records are available such as the North Carolina state census of 1786. Also, numerous Native American census records exist as well as Native American school records.

The other types of census records also include constable’s or sheriff’s census, school census, church/civil census, and settlers census. The Holland Land Company census of 1806 is a perfect example of a settlers census.

An excellent way to keep track of these census records is to create a task list for your files. One example of this regarding tax rolls would be poll tax, personal property, real estate, 1863 income tax, 1798 property tax, assessors’ lists, and rate lists. Another example regarding land records would be creating a list including entries such as plat maps, lotteries, ground rents, quitrents, debt books, land grant lists, suspended land grants, headright claims, lists of indentured servants, immigrant land allowances, and heir lists.

The separate state census records listed in the table below give the available years for each state. States that hold no additional state census records outside of the federal records are Connecticut, Idaho, Kentucky, Montana, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and West Virginia. States with the most state census records are Mississippi, Oregon, and Washington. Mississippi conducted a state census for the years 1801, 1805, 1810, 1816, 1818, 1822, 1823, 1824, 1825, 1833, 1837, 1841, 1845, 1850, 1853, 1860 and 1866. The most informative state census record is in the state of Iowa during 1925. A wealth of information results from this data with questions such as relationship to head of household and complete mailing address. Listed on the Iowa census are the parent names for all individuals accompanied by the mother’s maiden name. Even the ages of the parents reside in a column if still living. A separate column portrays the location of marriage for both parents and individuals. A remarkable amount of data stored in this one individual state census for Iowa shows the amount of material available for family historians.

Alabama 1818, 1820, 1821, 1850, 1855, 1866, 1907
Alaska1878, 1879, 1881, 1885, 1890-95, 1904, 1905, 1906-07, 1914, 1917
Arizona1866, 1867, 1869, 1872, 1874, 1876, 1880, 1882
Arkansas1823, 1829, 1865, 1911
California1836, 1844, 1852
Colorado1861, 1866, 1885
Delaware1782
Florida1825, 1855, 1866, 1867, 1868, 1875, 1885, 1895, 1935, 1945
Georgia1798, 1800, 1810, 1827, 1834, 1838, 1845, 1852, 1853, 1859, 1865, 1879
Hawaii1890, 1896
Illinois1810, 1818, 1820, 1825, 1830, 1835, 1840, 1845, 1855, 1865
Indiana1807, 1853, 1857, 1871, 1877, 1883, 1889, 1901, 1913, 1919, 1931
Iowa1836, 1836, 1844, 1846, 1847, 1849, 1851, 1852, 1854, 1856, 1885, 1895, 1905, 1915, 1925
Kansas1855, 1865, 1875, 1885, 1895, 1905, 1915, 1925
Louisiana1853, 1858
Maine1837
Maryland1776, 1778
Massachusetts1855, 1865
Michigan1837, 1845, 1854, 1864, 1874, 1884, 1888, 1894, 1904
Minnesota1849, 1853, 1855, 1857, 1865, 1875, 1885, 1895, 1905
Nebraska1845, 1855, 1856, 1865, 1869, 1885
Nevada1862, 1875
New Jersey1855, 1865, 1875, 1885, 1895, 1905, 1915
New Mexico1823, 1845, 1885
New York1790, 1825, 1835, 1845, 1855, 1865, 1875, 1905, 1915, 1925
North Carolina1786
North Dakota1885, 1915, 1925
Oklahoma1890, 1907
Oregon1842, 1843, 1845, 1849, 1850, 1853, 1854, 1855, 1856, 1857, 1858, 1859, 1865, 1870, 1875, 1885, 1895, 1905
Rhode Island1774, 1777, 1782, 1865, 1875, 1885, 1905, 1915, 1925, 1935
South Carolina1825, 1839, 1869, 1875
South Dakota1885, 1895, 1905, 1915, 1925, 1935, 1945
Tennessee1891
Texas1829-1836
Utah1852, 1856
Virginia1782, 1783, 1784, 1785, 1786
Washington1856, 1857, 1858, 1860, 1871, 1877, 1878, 1879, 1880, 1881, 1883, 1885, 1887, 1889, 1891, 1892, 1898
Wisconsin1836, 1838, 1842, 1846, 1855, 1865, 1875, 1885, 1895, 1905
Wyoming1875, 1878
Mississippi is listed in the paragraph above table. Note: portions of these records may pertain to certain areas of the state only. The sources for the information varies from personal notes to conversations with state archives and local historians over the years. There may be additional census years for some states, contact the state archives for each state for more details on available state census records.


Piedmont Trial’s podcast will discuss these census records in great depth, scheduled for June 2021. The show for May will discuss methods of finding out the secrets of the past and finding the details of our ancestors. Please share your experiences with these records, and let us hear from you. Most of all, enjoy your journey to the past !!

The Genealogy Off The Grid series incorporates years of studying my personal family history. The phrase, off the grid, is used to portray the importance of getting out there and discovering these records. Visit the small towns, large cities and locate these records by following the footsteps your ancestors left behind. The feeling of discovery can hold no words. It overwhelms you with a sense of belonging to a beautiful design. It steadies you while the search continues, and the roots will never let go. Webster’s definition of family states a basic unit in society, but you and I know that the word family means so much more.

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