We have covered all census years starting from the first enumeration in until the most recent census that has been released to the public — We have included most of the information relevant to family historians, although some details may have been excluded in an attempt to keep this guide as concise as possible.
For easy reference we have included the census year, official enumeration date, questions asked, known loss of records,, additional schedules and links to the collections on FamilySearch where you can search and view them for free. Note on Official Dates of Enumeration : We have included the official date of enumeration since this is an important element of using the data you find. When an enumerator recorded the answers to questions, all answers were to be based on this date such as age. Generally, you should use this date instead of the date the census record was actually recorded on when considering the information.
Note on Locating Addresses : It should be noted that addresses can be found in some later census years by looking for the street name on the far left and the house number recorded next to the head of household. Dwelling and family number found in other census years reflects the order of visitation by the enumerator and not the house number of the family.
Persons were often recorded by temporary residence where they worked or visited until the census when permanent residence was used. Note on Nonpopulation Schedules : In addition to the various population schedules detailed below, the United States also created a variety of schedules related to business and agriculture. Please see this page on the National Archives for more about these schedules.
Ancestry has some of these records available with a paid subscription. Search U. Census records for free here. Census recorded the same information as the schedule with the addition of an inquiry of the number of illiterate individuals over the age of Please see entry for additional information. Census was the first year that all individuals were listed by name rather than just head of household Native Americans and slaves excluded. Separate schedules were used for slaves and these persons continued to be identified only by the name of the person who enslaved them. Sometimes their employer was also listed if they worked externally.
Native Americans on reservations and unsettled lands were also excluded. The population census for free persons recorded the number of dwelling and family number is the order visited — not the house number , and the following:. Mortality Schedule collected information about those who died between June and May Mortality schedules were also conducted with the , , and censuses and recorded deaths from the previous year from official enumeration date. FamilySearch does not currently offer them but we have written about how to access these schedules for free here.
A few Native Americans living in the general population not on reservations were included but enslaved persons are still excluded and appear without a name in the separate slave schedule. The Slave Schedule was identical to the schedule see above. This collection is not available on FamilySearch.
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It can be accessed on Ancestry. Census was the first year that previously enslaved persons were listed in the main population schedule by name.
Native Americans living in the general population not reservations are included in larger numbers for the first time. Native Americans in the general population were identified in the main census if they were not living on reservations. You can read more about that on Ancestry. The index is available with a free account on their site.
Please note that this is a separate initiative than the later U. Indian Census Rolls see below. For more information please read our article on the topic. A Mortality Schedule that recorded deaths was also taken.
How can I view the records covered in this guide?
See notes for Although this collection is separate from the U. Federal Census it was such an important initiative that we felt we must include it. Beginning in records also included marriage information, degree of Native American blood and more. You can read more about this census on the National Archives here. This page details exactly what the collection contains, what areas were covered in what years, and where to find the collection online.
This special census was conducted in the years by E.
A Fay for the Volta Bureau and collected names, occupations and information about deaf persons and their families. For more about this schedule please see Ancestry. Census expanded inquires from earlier years to the include the following on a single form per family:. Loss of Records: There is a near total loss of records for this year.
To browse the census, searching for an address, is much easier if you can find something called an ED Enumeration District number. Genealogy is full of brick walls. For instance, you're following a name through the censuses, tracing a family line back through the years, when you hit a dead end. You believe this is only a few years after they immigrated, and you really want to see that record: it describes your family's first years in the United States, so is an important record. You've tried searching by name, but nothing works.
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Perhaps that name hasn't been indexed correctly, or the enumerator misspelled the name, or had sloppy handwriting? Perhaps your ancestor wasn't there at all? You've tried Soundex searches, truncated searches, variant spellings. Alas you have drawn a blank. To do this the researcher needs to generate an enumeration district ED number. To do that one needs an address. This post will tell you how you find an ancestor's address at census time, how to generate an ED number, and how to browse the census. For free, online. In rural areas, an enumeration district may cover many square miles, or a whole county.
Each area is assigned a number, an enumeration district, or ED number. Before we can generate an ED number, we need to first locate a name and address in a record or directory from as near to the year of the census as possible. Possible address sources include:. The heads of household were instructed to give details of everyone who slept in that dwelling on census night, which was always a Sunday.
The forms completed by each household, known as schedules, were collected a few days later by the enumerator. From to the information from the schedules was then copied into enumeration books. Once the enumeration books had been completed, most household schedules were destroyed, although there are some rare survivals. It is the enumeration books that we consult today online or on microfilm. The census was the first to list the names of every individual, which makes it the earliest useful census for family historians.
However, less information was collected in than in later census years. Read section 5 for details of the information recorded in each census year. The General Register Office was responsible for taking the census, so it used the administrative framework already in place for the registration of births, marriages and deaths.
The Superintendent Registrar was responsible for collecting the returns from each Registrar of Births and Deaths in their registration district, and sending them to the Census Office in London. Each Registrar of Births and Deaths was responsible for a sub-district, which they divided into enumeration districts EDs , and recruited enumerators for each ED.
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This map illustrates three of the registration sub-districts at the time of the census. In the censuses of , , and lists of names were not collected centrally, although some are held in local record offices. The censuses from to are available online. It is free to search on these sites, but there is a charge to view full search results and digitised images.