Census Resources

U.S. Census Research Online Resources

Why use the census?

  • You can use the census to --
  • Find birthplace of head of household, his children and parents
  • Identify family relationships · Find ancestor as a child to identify his parents.
  • Learn year of immigration, naturalization status, and birthplace of parents giving another avenue of research.
  • Learn veteran status to request pension records which can give birth and death dates, proof of marriage and children's births, and much more.
  • Learn more. · Learn ancestor's address so that you can visit ancestral house.

U.S. census history

  • 1780s US constitution written and ratified, requires a census every 10 years for apportioning representatives. States may have additional ones as needed.
  • 1790 First census taken, over a period of 18 months. Records of six states destroyed during War of 1812, but reconstructed from tax records.
  • 1800-1820 First Monday in August designated as Census Day.
  • 1830-1900 June 1st designated as Census Day. All but 6160 names in the 1890 census were later destroyed in a fire in 1921
  • 1910- Other specific dates designed as Census Day

Tips for census research

  • Information was to be recorded as of the official census day, not the day the enumerator came. Depending on how closely the enumerator and person giving information followed instructions and remembered correctly, the information might have been given as of any time in that range,. This can result in the same people being enumerated in different locations.
  • It wasn't unheard of to get the information from a neighbor or sometimes the only person at home would be one of the kids who "thinks maybe he was born in....".
  • Not everyone in the household is necessarily a family member, and a blank surname doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the same as the head of household.
  • Another thing to watch for is what was known as "padding the census".  Enumerators were usually paid by the number of households they visited. If it was a very rural area they were paid a little more per household as the dwellings were much fewer. Some really good examples are at ftp://ftp.us-census.org/pub/usgenweb/census/ny/cayuga/1860/notes.txt  In Ira, NY there’s a deceased person on the census records. In Fleming, NY some families are duplicated with minor changes two or three times.
  • Great website searching tool (One-Step) located at http://stevemorse.org/#us

Tour of online databases:

Ancestry (Ancestry.com)  Paid Membership FamilySearch  (familysearch.org) FREE
Largest paid membership site, and has both indexes and images for federal, state, and international censuses.   Largest free indexing site for US federal, state, and international censuses.   
They also have several free resources like 1880 US federal, 1881 UK, and state censuses for AL, MN, NM, KS.    1850, 1870, and 1900 US federal Census and several states such as NY, MN, FL, and IL have free images without account.  
    With a FamilySearch.org account,  95% of their indexes link to images  including most US federal censuses except 1880 and 1930.  
    Heritage Quest  FREE with library card
Archives.com  (Archives.com) Paid Membership Index and images for most US federal censuses  
Indexes for 1790-1830 US federal census, and images for 1850, 1870, 1900.   Search for genealogy database at your local library website.  
Partial UK and Canada Census Indexes      
World Vital Records  (worldvitalrecords.com) Paid Membership    
2 different sets of images from 1790-1930 from different microfilms.   There are two different census record transcription projects from USGenWeb:  
1860 and 1930  Indexed   usgwcensus.org  FREE
    us-census.org  FREE
Fold3.com  (fold3.com) Paid Membership
Organized by state, county, city.  Each state varies on information available.   
1860 +1930 US Census Index and images   Some only have every-name indexes, some are transcriptions.  
    May or may not have  images available.  
UK Censuses Paid Memberships    
findmypast.com   1841-1891 UK and Scotland; 1831, 1901-1911 UK   USGenWeb Archives – Online Census Images  FREE
scotlandspeople.gov.uk 1841-1911 UK and Scotland
genesreunited.co.uk 1841-1911 England and Wales   Separate ad-hoc indexes for some counties/years: some surname only, some head of household, some every name  
thegenealogist.co.uk           http://www.ukcensusonline.com          http://www.freecen.org.uk   B/W images for some counties/years  
Census hosted by country      
Denmark -http://ddd.dda.dk/dddform2_uk.asp   Allen County Public Library  archive.org/details/allen_county  FREE
Sweden - http://www.svar.ra.se/   Allen County Library in Fort Wayne has partnered with archive.org to digitalize its copy of the US Federal censuses.  
Norway - http://digitalarkivet.no   Each reel is its own PDF and searching these images can be very cumbersome.  However, useful if you do not have a membership to a paid site.  
Ireland - http://census.nationalarchives.ie/search/      
Pages with links, including county specific research
FREE Census Research Tools  
censuslinks.com   stevemorse.org/#us  
censusfinder.com   cyndislist.com/us/census  
censusdiggins.com   ancestorhunt.com  
census-online.com   newhorizonsgenealogicalservices.com  





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