1900 U.S. Census
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The 1900 census began on 1 June 1900. The enumeration was to be completed within thirty days, or within two weeks for communities with populations of more than 10,000. The official census population count was 76,212,168.
Questions Asked in the 1900 Census
The 1900 population schedules provide the number of each dwelling house and family, in order of visitation; the name, address, relationship to the head of the household of each person in the household; his or her color or race, sex, month and year of birth, age at last birthday, marital status, the number of years married, the total number of children born of the mother, the number of those children living, and places of birth for each individual and the parents of each individual. If the individual was foreign born, the year of immigration and the number of years he or she was in the United States at the time of the census, and his or her citizenship status, if over twenty-one. The schedule also includes each individual’s occupation; the number of months he or she was unemployed during the last year; whether the person attended school within the year and if so, the number of months in school; whether the person could read, write, and speak English; whether the home was owned or rented; whether the home was on a farm; and whether the home was mortgaged.
Other Significant Facts about the 1900 Census
The 1900 census is the only available census that provides columns for including the exact month and year of birth of every person enumerated. Previous censuses, and even the 1910, 1920, and 1930 censuses, include only ages. The 1900 census was also the first census to include space to record the number of years couples were married, how long an immigrant had been in the country and whether he or she was naturalized. It was also one of the first censuses to ask whether a home or farm was owned or rented, and whether the owned property was free of mortgage, the number of children born to the mother, and how many were still living. (These same questions were asked on the 1890 census.)
Research Tips for the 1900 Census
Because the Soundex index to the 1900 census is regarded as one of the most inclusive and accurate of the federally created indexes, it is recommended as a good starting point for beginning researchers. Most beginning researchers are able to find some knowledge of family names and residences that will serve as a starting point for searching the 1900 Soundex index. (See “Census Indexes and Finding Aids” on page 185.) The 1900 census is an excellent tool for determining dates and places to search for marriage records, birth records of children, deaths of children, and the marriages of children not listed. It is also a means of verifying family traditions, identifying unknown family members, and linking what is known to other sources, such as earlier censuses, naturalization records (especially declarations of intent to become citizens), school attendance rolls, property holdings, and employment and occupational records. These records can also help to trace and document ethnic origins, and identify overseas and shipboard military service.
Note that some Indian schedules are kept at the end of their corresponding state schedules, instead of the county.
For additional information on the 1900 census, see 1900 Federal Population Census: A Catalog of Microfilm Copies of the Schedules at the National Archives.14 For boundary changes and identification of missing census schedules, see Thorndale’s and Dollarhide’s Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790–1920.