Census Records for Florida
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This entry was originally written by the Florida Pioneer Descendants Certification Program Committee of the Florida State Genealogical Society, Inc. for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.
• Indexed—1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1885 (see below), 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930
• Soundex—1880, 1900, 1910 (Miracode)
Industry and Agriculture Schedules
• 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1885
• 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1885
• 1850, 1860
All of Florida’s federal population census records are available at the Florida State Archives and more widely available through online database services (see pages 16-17), the NARA, and The Family History Library (FHL). See also Donna Rachal Mills, Florida’s Unfortunates: The 1880 Federal Census: Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Classes, Tuscaloosa, Ala: Mills Historical Press, 1993.
In 1879, Congress passed an act that provided some funding for any state or territory to conduct a census in 1885. Florida was one of five states or territories that took advantage of this opportunity, and it includes the special schedules: mortality, agriculture, and manufacturing. Arrangement within the schedules is by enumeration district, precinct, or city. An every-name index with 312,551 names is given in William T. Martin and Patricia Martin, 1885 Florida State Census Index (Miami: W.T. & P. Martin, 1991). Four Florida counties are missing: Alachua, Clay, Columbia, and Nassau.
The Spanish took a number of censuses during their periods of colonial control (1565–1763 and 1783–1821). Most have been published, though some may be hard to find. “The 1783 Spanish Census of Florida” was translated and published in four consecutive issues of the Georgia Genealogical Magazine, beginning with no. 39 (Winter 1971). Approximately one-quarter of the census is available online. (Search for “Florida Census 1783.”)
The most significant source for these censuses is located in the “East Florida Papers.” These papers, microfilmed on 175 rolls, consist of the Spanish administration (1783–1821) and are therefore completely in Spanish. Roll #148 contains census returns for the following years: 1784–86, 1793, 1813, 1814, and 1815. The early censuses contain considerable information on the Minorcan residents of St. Augustine. The P. K. Yonge Library of Florida History holds typescript translations and transcriptions as well as the complete set of the “East Florida Papers.” Other Spanish census resources include the following:
- Coker, William S. and G. Douglas Inglis. The Spanish Census of Pensacola, 1784–1820: A Genealogical Guide to Spanish Pensacola. Pensacola, Fla.: Perdido Bay Press, 1980. Reproduces ten valuable censuses and population lists, one or another taken roughly every four years.
- Coker, William S. “Religious Censuses of Pensacola, 1796–1801,” Florida Historical Quarterly 61 (July 1982): 54-63.
- Lockey, Joseph B. “The 1786 St. Augustine Census,” Florida Historical Quarterly 18 (July 1939): 11-31. This important article has been complemented by Phillip D. Rasico in “The Minorcan Population of St. Augustine in the Spanish Census of 1786,” Florida Historical Quarterly 65 (October 1987): 160-84.
- Mills, Donna Rachal. Florida’s First Families: Translated Abstracts of Pre-1821 Spanish Censuses. Tuscaloosa, Ala.: Mills Historical Press, 1992. Abstracted from microfilm housed in the library of Florida State University and available through interlibrary loan.
- “The 1814 East Florida Spanish Census,” Jacksonville Genealogical Society Quarterly 4 (December 1976): 197-218.
The Legislative Council met in 1824 and approved an act to take a census in each of the counties of the Territory. Only a fragment of Leon County exists today. The information listed includes the name of the head of the family, the number of white males over and under twenty-one years, the number of white females over and under twenty-one years, and the number of slaves. The census fragment was printed in The Florida Historical Quarterly 22 (1943): 34-40 by Dorothy Dodd, as “The Florida Census of 1825” and is also available online at www.rootsweb.com/~flleon/1825cens.htm.
The state of Florida conducted its own censuses in 1845, 1855, 1867, 1875, 1885, 1935, and 1945. The state census was abolished in 1949. Only the following fragments of the early one remain at the Florida State Archives.
1845—Alachua, Benton, Columbia, Duval, Gadsden, Hamilton, Hillsborough, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Madison, Marion, Orange, St. Johns, Walton, Wakulla, and Washington counties. The enumeration lists the county, the name of the census taker, the number of white males over and under twenty-one, the number of white females over and under eighteen, the number of male and female slaves, and the number of male and female “free coloreds.” The enumeration does not list the names of the inhabitants of the Florida counties.
1855—Marion County only. The information recorded in the book includes the name of the head of the family, the number of white males over and under twenty-one, the number of white females over and under eighteen, the number of children between five and eighteen, the number of children in schools, the number of male and female slaves, the value of the slaves, the number of male and female free persons of color, the number of acres and value of land, and the value of buildings, furniture, and plantation livestock.
1867—Franklin, Hernando, Madison, Orange, and Santa Rosa counties only. The books of enumeration have separate listings for “colored” and white inhabitants. Both include the name of the head of the family, the number of males over and under twenty-one, the number of females over and under eighteen, the total number of inhabitants, and the number of males between eighteen and forty-five.
1875—Alachua County only. The information recorded in the returns includes the name, age, sex, and race of all those persons listed. For some entries, other information is provided, including occupation, the value of real estate, the value of personal property, the number of acres planted in cotton, the number of acres planted in cane, and the number of orange trees.
1885—Leon County only. The information recorded includes the name, age, sex, and race of those persons enumerated. The enumeration is segregated by race.
1895—Nassau County only. (Published by Jacksonville Genealogical Society)
The original 1935 and 1945 state censuses are located at the Florida State Archives and on microfilm at many public libraries in Florida. It is accessible alphabetically by county and then by numbered election precincts. The schedules give name, address (and whether inside or outside city limits), age, sex, race, relationship to head of family, place of birth, degree of education, and occupation. Several counties have been indexed such as Bay (1935-partial), Gilchrist (1935), Hillsborough (1935-partial), Indian River (1935, 1945), Monroe (1935-Upper Keys only) and Walton (1945). The researcher should check the Internet often for new additions.
A collection of these state censuses is searchable at Ancestry.com at Florida State Census, 1867-1945. Another index for 1885 is searchable at Florida State Census, 1885. A third collection of Florida Census Indexes is the Florida Census, 1820-90 database that contains the following indexes: 1820 Census Index (Pensacola and Escambia River Areas); 1825 Leon County Census Index; 1830 Federal Census Index; 1840 Federal Census Index; 1840 Pensioners List; 1850 Federal Census Index; 1850 Slave Schedule; 1860 Federal Census Index; 1860 Slave Schedule; 1870 Federal Census Index; 1890 Veterans Schedule; 1890 Naval Veterans Schedule; Early Census Index, Vol. 1-2.
1855 and 1866—Franklin County only. This is a census of children ages five to eighteen.
1896–1929—Census of youth of school age.