Census Records for North Carolina
This entry was originally written by Johni Cerny and Gareth L. Mark for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.
• Indexed—1790 (incomplete), 1800, 1810 (incomplete), 1820 (incomplete), 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1890 (fragments), 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930
• Soundex—1880, 1900, 1910 (Miracode), 1920
• 1840: Some records for Stokes County were incorrectly included in the original Tyrell County microfilm records in the NARA archives.
Industry and Agriculture Schedules
• 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880
• 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880
Union Veterans Schedules
• 1850, 1860
The first federal census was taken in 1790, and all of North Carolina’s enumerations have survived except Caswell, Granville, and Orange counties. The 1810 U.S. census of North Carolina is complete except for Craven, Greene, New Hanover, and Wake counties. The 1820 census is missing Currituck, Franklin, Martin, Montgomery, Randolph, and Wake counties. Those schedules surviving for the 1890 population schedules are South Point and River Ben townships in Gaston County and Township No. 2 in Cleveland County. The North Carolina State Archives has either bound original copies or microfilm copies of the extant federal censuses of North Carolina.
Apparently there was no colonial census of North Carolina, but tax records, used judiciously, may be substituted (see North Carolina Tax Records). A census was conducted in 1775 by direction of the Continental Congress, and the enumeration of Pitt County has survived. See Jean Anderson, “The Census of 1775 as Seen in Pitt County, NC,” The North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal 7, no. 4 (November 1981): 186-96. In 1784 the North Carolina General Assembly requested that a list of inhabitants be taken. Age and sex categories for whites and African Americans are included. Compliance was slow and apparently incomplete, with some counties not responding until 1786. There is some evidence that another census was conducted in 1787; the so-called 1784–87 state census may be two censuses intermingled. Extant portions of the 1784–87 state censuses are in Alvaretta K. Register, State Census of North Carolina, 1784–1787, 2d ed., rev. (1971; reprint, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1978). Additional portions of those censuses have been located since Register’s publication. See Helen F. M. Leary, comp., “Bertie Co., N.C., 1787 State Census,” The North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal 9, no. 1 (February 1983): 32-34, and Jonathan B. Butcher, “1787 Census Return for Pearson’s Company, Rowan County, NC,” The North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal 11, no. 4 (November 1985): 253-54.