1890 Census: Next Steps and Alternative Sources

The majority of the 1890 census was destroyed in a 1921 fire in the Commerce Building in Washington, D.C. where it was kept. Only 6,160 of the 62,979,766 people enumerated are included in the remainder.

Alternative sources:
>> Search the 1890 Census Substitute at Ancestry.com. It includes fragments of the original 1890 census that survived the fire, special veterans schedules, several Native American tribe censuses for years surrounding 1890, state censuses (1885 or 1895), city and county directories, alumni directories, and voter registration documents

>> Look for the family in other censuses (1900, 1880, etc.). Search U.S. census population schedules at Ancestry.com.

>> See if there are state censuses available for that period. You can see what state censuses are available on Ancestry.com by going to the Card Catalog and filtering by Census & Voter Lists and then selecting the state in which your ancestor lived from the location filters below it.  

>> Check local libraries for unique collections like tax lists that may not be available online yet.

1890 Census:  Surviving Fragments
Following is a list of the surviving fragments from the 1890 census:

Alabama—Perry County
District of Columbia—Q, S, 13th, 14th, RQ, Corcoran, 15th, SE, and Roggs streets, and Johnson Avenue
Georgia—Muscogee County (Columbus)
Illinois—McDonough County: Mound Township
Minnesota—Wright County: Rockford
New Jersey—Hudson County: Jersey City
New York—Westchester County: Eastchester; Suffolk County: Brookhaven Township
North Carolina—Gaston County: South Point Township, Ricer Bend Township; Cleveland County: Township No. 2
Ohio—Hamilton County (Cincinnati); Clinton County: Wayne Township
South Dakota—Union County: Jefferson Township
Texas—Ellis County: S.P. no. 6, Mountain Peak, Ovila Precinct; Hood County: Precinct no. 5; Rusk County: Precinct no. 6 and J.P. no. 7; Trinity County: Trinity Town and Precinct no. 2; Kaufman County: Kaufman.

If you’ve hit the genealogical lottery and your ancestors are among those included in the above locations, here are some next steps:

>> Plot the address on a map and look for churches and cemeteries in the area. Search for historical maps on Ancestry.com.  

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

>> Investigate military service for those who served or whose spouse served in the Civil War (noted on line 2). Search the Civil War Collection on Ancestry.com.  

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

>> Verify that you’ve accounted for all of the children born to mothers using the information on line 9. Search for additional birth and death records in the U.S. vital records that are available on Ancestry.com.   

>> Estimate marriage year, possibly through the births of children, and look for marriage record.  Search the U.S. vital records that are available on Ancestry.com.   

>> For immigrants, use the field for years in the U.S. (line 13) to help locate passenger arrival records. Ancestry.com has a large collection of passenger arrival records in the Immigration Collection.  

>> Seek out naturalization records for immigrants if the census indicates they were naturalized or had taken out first papers (lines 14 and 15). If you can find the immigrant in the 1920 census, it also includes the date which can help you narrow your search. Ancestry.com has a growing collection of naturalization records in the Immigration Collection.  

>> If your ancestor was a male, born between ca. 1872 and 1900 and living in the U.S. at the time of World War I, search the World War I Draft Registrations on Ancestry.com. More than 24 million men, both immigrants and native-born citizens, registered for the draft, many of whom were never actually served.

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

>> Share your find. Take a minute to share your find 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.