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Records & Directories << Census Records <<

| Go to the Federal Census Introduction |

Records and Directories Guide

Census Records-
Records and Directories
What's In Them Where to Find Them How to Use Them***

Federal Census from 1850 (to learn the exact content from a given census year,go to the Census Forms extra.)
Almost always include:

  • Names and ages of all people in a household
  • Sex of all
  • Color of all
  • Birthplace of all
  • Occupation of all
  • Whether able to read and write
  • Whether attended school within last year


  • May also include:
  • Name of street and # of house
  • Relationship to head of household
  • Month of birth, if born within that year
  • Whether naturalized and whether papers had been filed
  • # of years in the U.S.
  • Value of personal estate
  • Value of real estate
  • Whether home and farm free of mortgage
  • Marital status
  • Whether married within the year
  • Whether disabled
  • Whether suffering from chronic disease
  • Whether crippled, maimed or deformed
  • Time unemployed in census year
  • Whether deaf, dumb, blind or insane
  • Whether a pauper
  • Whether a prisoner or homeless child
  • Whether a convict
  • Whether able to speak English
  • Birthplaces of parents
  • Whether father or mother of foreign birth
  • # of children born and still living, if a mother
  • Whether soldier, sailor or marine during the Civil War, or widow of
  • # of years in present marriage
  • Mother tongue
  • those who died in the past year
  • National Archives:
    www.archives.gov

    General compiled sources such as the FHL Catalog:
    http://www.familysearch.org/
    Search/searchcatalog.asp

    State or local libraries, archives or societies and/or compiled records for that locality can be found in the Resource Guide section of the Ancestors web site.

    university & special libraries (e.g., DAR)

    Online & CD transcription projects

  • to track your ancestors' movement over time
  • to find names and rough birth years
  • to determine relationships
  • to learn birthplaces
  • to find clues to the previous generation (e.g., birthplace)
  • to learn street address
  • to learn whether a slave or a slave owner
  • to learn occupations
  • to learn other country of birth
  • to learn of other children who likely died young
  • to learn year of immigration and/or naturalization
  • to note naming patterns in your family
  • to find clues to your family's economic status
  • to find some clues to education
  • to find some clues to military service
  • to find some clues to medical conditions
  • to narrow year and place of marriage
  • to learn about employment status
  • to learn about exceptional circumstances, such as convicts and homeless children
  • to learn native tongue
  • to narrow death dates
  • to identify other potential branches of your family living nearby
  • *** Please share your suggestions for other uses of information found in census records here

    For more information on these important records, be sure to catch the Census Records episode of Ancestors on your local PBS station.

     
     
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