Census Records for Louisiana
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This entry was originally written by Beth A. Stahr, CGRS and Sharon Sholars Brown for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.
• Indexed—1810, 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930
• Soundex—1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930
Industrial and Agricultural Schedules
• 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880
• 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880
• 1850, 1860
Union Veterans Schedules
After the 1803 purchase of Louisiana, it became an American possession; therefore, the first federal census report taken for the state was 1810.
Caution should be used particularly with relying on any census indexes (see page 3) for Louisiana, as many French and Spanish names were transcribed wrong for the census and numerous omissions exist. Many of these population schedules have been published:
- Ardoin, Robert B. L. Louisiana Census Records: 1810–1820. 3 vols. Vols. 1 and 2 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1970–72); and vol. 3 (New Orleans: Polyanthos, 1977). These cover more than fourteen of the early settled parishes.
- Childs, Marleta, and John Ross, eds. North Louisiana Census Reports. Vol. 2: 1830 and 1840 Schedules of Caddo. Claiborne and Natchitoches Parishes. Vol. 3: 1850 and 1860 Schedules of Union Parish. New Orleans: Polyanthos, Inc., 1977.
As early as 1860 the federal government began attempts to identify Native Americans. In 1900 and 1910 it created a special Indian schedule. The first page was the same as the population census, the only difference being that it had “Indian Population” as its heading. The second page provided for such important information as tribal affiliation, the tribe of each parent, the amount of Indian blood, and—if not full-blooded—their precise racial mixture. These schedules will be found at the end of the ward or district in which the Native American resided.
Some of the supplemental census schedules taken by the federal government are available for Louisiana at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. Copies may also exist in Louisiana, but to date they have not been found. Louisiana’s mortality schedules (1850–80) are on microfilm at the National Archives, Washington, D.C., microfilm T655.
During the colonial period Louisiana shifted from French to Spanish control. Not until after the 1803 purchase of Louisiana did it become an American possession; therefore, the first federal census report taken for the state was 1810. But the French and Spanish were diligent scribes, and many censuses exist for Louisianians. Some of the censuses for the colony’s inhabitants are listed below:
Maduell, Charles R., Jr., comp. and trans. Census Tables for the French Colony of Louisiana, 1699–1732. Reprint. Baltimore: Clearfield Publishing Co., 2000. Includes the following:
December 1699—Census of the Inhabitants of the first settlement on the Gulf Coast, Fort Maurepas.
25 May 1700—Census of the officers, petty officers, sailors, Canadians, freebooters, and others located at Biloxi as of 25 May 1700.
1704—List of marriageable girls who arrived aboard the Pelican at Biloxi in the year 1704.
1 August 1706—Census of the inhabitants of Fort Louis de la Louisianne at Mobile, taken by Nicolas de la Salle.
1 August 1706—Census of families and inhabitants of Louisiana, taken by Nicolas de la Salle.
1711—Census of Fort Louis de la Mobile from the map of 1711.
25 October 1713—List of officers commissioned at Fort Louis, Biloxi.
October 1713—Persons mentioned in the colony by Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac.
26 June 1721—Census of the inhabitants in the area of Biloxi and Mobile, as reported by Le Sieur Diron.
24 November 1721—General census of all the inhabitants of New Orleans and environs, as reported by Le Sieur Diron.
1 May 1722—Census of the inhabitants of Natchitoches, Fort St. Jean Baptist, taken for Le Sieur Diron, General of the Troops.
13 May 1722—Census of the inhabitants of the concessions along the Mississippi River; reported by Le Sieur Diron.
1722—Officials of the colony at Fort Louis, Biloxi, appointed in 1722.
8 April 1723—Some colonists of Louisiana mentioned in a letter by de La Chaise.
18 October 1723—Some colonists of Louisiana mentioned in a letter by de La Chaise.
12 November 1724—Census of inhabitants of German villages located ten leagues above New Orleans along the river, under command of D’Arensbourg.
20 December 1724—Census of inhabitants along the Mississippi River from New Orleans to Ouacha, or the German villages.
March 1725—Census of the inhabitants of Dauphin Island, along the Mobile River, Cat Island, and Penscagoula (Pascagoula), compiled by M. Gorty.
January 1726—General census of all the inhabitants of the colony of Louisiana, including the entire coast bordering the Gulf of Mexico, from Mobile to New Orleans, and the colonies along the Mississippi River, including the region known as Illinois.
October 1726—List of those persons requesting “Negroes” from the company.
1 July 1727—Census of New Orleans as reported by M.iPerier, commander general of Louisiana; also continuation of the census of M. Perier, being the inhabitants in the environs of New Orleans, along the river.
9 June 1730—List of persons massacred at Natchez, 28 November 1729, as reported by R. P. Philibert, Capuchin priest.
1731—List of property owners of New Orleans on the map published by Gonichon in 1731; census of inhabitants along the Mississippi River, unsigned, initialed N. S.; and list of landowners located along the Mississippi River from its mouth to the German villages, with indications of how they acquired the land. Date mentioned “after 1731.”
January 1732—Census of the inhabitants and property owners of New Orleans; and census of the inhabitants of Illinois, both unsigned but initialed N. S.
For this time period see also Jacqueline K. Voorhies, Some Late Eighteenth Century Louisianians, 1758–1796 (Lafayette, La.: University of Southwestern Louisiana, 1973).
Hill, Roscoe R. Descriptive Catalogue of the Documents relating to the History of the United States in the Papeles Procedentes de Cuba deposited in the Archivo General de Indias. 1916. Reprint. New York: Kraus Reprint Corporation, 1965. Lists the following:
1795—Census of Baton Rouge and Manchak.
1770—Reports of Eduardo Nugent and Juan Kelly on the number of inhabitants and livestock in the districts of Atakapas, Natchitoches, Opelousas, and Rapides.
1784 (?)—Census of the German Coast.
1790—Census of Ouachita.
1805—Census of Baton Rouge.
1766—List of inhabitants of Pointe Coupee; census of Pointe Coupee; list of Cote des Allemands; general census of Pointe Coupee; general census of Villere at Allemands.
1772—Left Bank of the Mississippi from Bayou de Placaminas to Ile au Marais; 1773 Rapides; 1774 “negroes and mulattoes” at Natchitoches.
1771—Census of Atakapas and Opelousas.
1776 (dated wrong, 1766)—Census of parish of St. Charles (Allemands).
1782—Census of Baton Rouge; 1786 census of Baton Rouge; 1798 census of the district of Nueva Feliciana; census of the district of la Metearie.
1785—Census of Avoyelles.
1788 and 1789—Census of Rapides; 1789 census of Natchitoches.
1772—Census of Rapides.
1795 (slaves)—Census of Primer Cote des Allemand; census of the second and third wards of New Orleans; census of slaves at Allemands, Atakapas, Natchitoches; 1796 census of the Quartier de la Metairie of New Orleans.
1795 (slaves)—General census of slaves of New Orleans and masters who contributed to indemnity for slaves lost at Pointe Coupee; 1778 census of the third ward of New Orleans; 1803 census of Pointe Coupee.
1799—Census of Allemands and Atakapas; general census of New Orleans.
1774—Census of Atakapas.
1803—Census of Atakapas (six documents).
1790—Recensements de la Pointe Coupee et Fausse Riviere.
1777—Census of Louisiana.
1771—Census of Louisiana.
1777—Census of Atakapas and Opelousas.
1786—Census of Atakapas and Opelousas.
1787—Census of Pointe Coupee.
1796—Census of Opelousas.
Almost all of these censuses from the Spanish archives have been published in English by Voorhies (see above) and by Elizabeth Shown Mills in Natchitoches Colonials: Censuses, Military Rolls and Tax Lists, 1722–1803 (Chicago: Adams Press, 1981).
From 1721 to 1773, the city of Nuestra Señora del Pilar de los Adaes served as the Spanish capital of Texas. This presidio was located in present-day Natchitoches Parish, near Robeline, Louisiana. Abandoned in 1773, its inhabitants relocated to San Antonio, Texas. By 1779 many of these people moved back closer to their old home of Adaes and reestablished the mission at Nacogdoches, Texas. Yearly census reports exist for Nacogdoches for the years 1792 to 1806, and 1809. Many Louisiana ancestors can be found on these enumerations. See “Census Reports of the Village of Nuestra del Pilar de Nacogdoches,” Bexar Archives, University of Texas Archives, Austin, Texas. (Copies can also be found in the Robert Bruce Collection, vol. 18, 71-284, Ralph W. Steen Library, Special Collection, Stephen F. Austin University, Nacogdoches, Texas.)