Learning Center 

1850 Census: Next Steps

Once you've found your ancestor in the 1850 U.S. Census, here are some possible next steps, based on the information found in this record.

>> Look for the family in other censuses (1840, 1860, etc.). Search U.S. census population schedules at

>> Search for historical maps of the area in which they lived  Look at what churches and cemeteries are in the area that might have more information on your family. See the heading of the census page for this information. 

>> Track the family using city or county directories. Search the U.S. City Directory Collection at

>> Using the age and place of birth, seek out birth records for all family members possible. Search the U.S birth records that are available on 

>> Estimate marriage year, possibly through the births of children, and look for marriage record. Column 10 asks whether couples were married within the census year. Search the U.S. vital records that are available on 

>> Note places of birth for individuals in the census. For immigrants, try to estimate immigration dates, possibly using dates and places of birth of various members of the household and search for passenger arrival records. has a large collection of passenger arrival records in the Immigration Collection.

>> For immigrants, look for potential naturalization records. has a growing collection of naturalization records in the Immigration Collection.

>> Start a family tree on to organize your finds and locate more records. 

>> Share your discovery with family members. It may prompt them to reciprocate with information that they have, and it could even spark a memory that will help bring your family’s story to life.