List of Useful Census References
The following references originally appeared in The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy.
The 1790–1890 Federal Population Censuses: Catalog of National Archives Microfilm. Washington, D.C.: National Archives Trust Fund Board, 1993.
Anderson, Robert C., et al. “Duplicate Census Enumerations.” American Genealogist vol. 62, no. 2 (April 1987): 97–105; vol. 62, no. 3 (July 1987): 173–81; vol. 62, no. 4 (October 1987): 241–44.
Barrows, Robert G. “The Ninth Federal Census of Indianapolis: A Case Study in Civic Chauvinism.” Indiana Magazine of History vol. 73, no. 1 (March 1977): 1–16.
Bureau of the Census. A Century of Population Growth from the First Census of the United States to the Twelfth, 1790–1900. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1909; reprint, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1967.
Bureau of the Census. Fourteenth Census of the United States, January 1, 1920: Instructions to Enumerators. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1919.
Bureau of the Census. Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1790. 12 vols. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1908.
Bureau of the Census. Records of State Enumerations, 1782–1785. 1908; reprint, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1970.
Burroughs, Tony. Black Roots: A Beginner's Guide to Tracing The African American Family Tree. New York City: Fireside, 2001.
Carpenter, Niles. Immigrants and Their Children 1920: A Study Based on Census Statistics Relative to the Foreign Born and the Native White of Foreign or Mixed Parentage. Census Monographs VII. Washington, D.C.: Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1927.
Census Enumeration District Descriptions, 1830–1890 and 1910–1950. National Archives Microfilm Publication T-1224, 146 rolls.
Census Enumeration District Descriptions, 1900. National Archives Microfilm Publication T-1210, 10 rolls.
A Census of Pensioners for Revolutionary or Military Services. 1841, various years. Reprint, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1996.
Conzen, Michael P. “Spatial Data from Nineteenth Century Manuscript Censuses: A Technique for Rural Settlement and Land Use Analysis.” Professional Geographer vol. 21, no. 5 (September 1969): 337–43. A primer on mapping the enumerator's route.
Creekmore, Pollyanna. Early East Tennessee Tax-Payers. Easley, S.C.: Southern Historical Press, 1980.
Davenport, David P. “Duration of Residence in the 1855 Census of New York State.” Historical Methods 18, no. 1 (Winter 1985): 5–12.
Davidson, Katherine H., and Charlotte M. Ashby, comps. Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the Bureau of the Census. Preliminary Inventory No. 161. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Service, 1964.
Delle Donne, Carmen R. Federal Census Schedules, 1850–80: Primary Sources for Historical Research. Reference Information Paper 67. 1973.
deValinger, Leon, Jr. Reconstructed Census for Delaware. Washington, D.C.: National Genealogical Society, 1954.
Dollarhide, William. New York: State Censuses & Substitutes. Bountiful, Utah: Heritage Creations, 2005.
Dubester, Henry J. State Censuses: An Annotated Bibliography of Censuses of Population Taken After the Year 1790 by States and Territories of the United States. Washington, D.C.: Bureau of the Census, 1948; reprint, Knightstown, Ind.: Bookmark, 1975.
Eichholz, Alice. Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources. Rev. ed. Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004. Chapters appear alphabetically by state. Within each state chapter is a description of available federal, state, special, and local censuses and their respective finding aids.
———, and James M. Rose, comps. Free Black Heads of Households in the New York State Federal Census 1790–1830. Gale Genealogy and Local History Series, vol. 14. Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1981.
Fishbein, Meyer H. The Censuses of Manufacturers, 1810–1890. Reference Information Paper 50. 1973.
Fothergill, Augusta B., and John M. Naugle. Virginia Tax Payers 1782–1787. Other Than Those Published in the United States Census Bureau. 1940; reprint, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1971.
Franklin, W. Neil, comp. Federal Population and Mortality Census Schedules, 1790–1890 in the National Archives and the States: Outline of a Lecture on Their Availability, Content and Use. Special List no. 24. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Service, General Services Administration, 1971. The greater part of this work describes the federal censuses and their availability in 1971. However, a discussion of mortality schedules is still valid. The compiler's bibliography cites some relatively obscure but important finding aids.
Frederick, Nancy Gubb. 1880 Illinois Census Index, Soundex Codes O-200 to O240. Evanston, Ill.: the compiler, 1981.
A General Index to a Census of Pensioners . . . 1840. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1965.
Georgia Department of Archives and History. Some Early Tax Digests of Georgia. Atlanta: Department of Archives, 1926.
Giltner, Charlotte L. “Interpreting the 1790 Census.” Detroit Society for Genealogical Research Magazine 51, no. 3 (Spring 1988): 110, 112.
Green, Kellee. “The Fourteenth Numbering of the People: The 1920 Federal Census.” Prologue 23, no. 2 (Summer 1991): 131–45.
Greenwood, Val D. The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy. 2nd ed. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1990. Particularly pp. 181–253.
Guide to Genealogical Research in the National Archives. Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1983. Particularly pp. 9–38.
Heinemann, Charles B. “First Census” of Kentucky, 1790. 1940; reprint, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1971.
Hinckley, Kathleen W. Your Guide to the Federal Census: For Genealogists, Researchers, and Family Historians. Cincinnati: Betterway Books, 2002.
Hollingsworth, Harry. “History and Availability of United States Census Schedules, 1850–1880.” Genealogical Journal vol. 7, no. 3 (September 1978): 143–50.
Indexes to Manufacturers' Census of 1820: An Edited Printing of the Original Indexes and Information. Reprint, Knightstown, Ind.: Bookmark, n.d.
Justesen, Elaine, and Ann Hughes, comps. New York City 1915 State Census Street Address Index. Edited by Raymond G. Matthews. Vol. 1, Manhattan. Salt Lake City: Family History Library, 1992.
Lainhart, Ann S. State Census Records. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1992.
McLeod, Dean L. “Record Source Failure; Some Implications for Analysis.” Genealogical Journal vol. 7, no. 2 (June 1978): 98–105.
Mariner, Mary Lou Craver, and Patricia Roughan Bellows. A Research Aid for the Massachusetts 1910 Federal Census. Sudbury, Mass.: Computerized Assistance, 1988. An index by towns and counties of enumeration districts, wards, and precincts and where to locate them on the microfilm. Enables a researcher to find town by roll, volume, and page number. Includes a large foldout street map of 1910 Boston with the wards indicated, plus county maps for the entire commonwealth.
National Archives and Records Administration. Federal Population and Mortality Schedules, 1790–1910, in the National Archives and the States. Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1986. Two microfiche.
———. Guide to Genealogical Research in the National Archives. 3rd. ed. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2001.
National Archives and Records Service. Cartographic Records of the Bureau of the Census. Preliminary Inventory no. 103. Washington, D.C., 1958. Includes a concise administrative history of federal census-taking. Following the inventory is a list showing the availability in the National Archives of maps of enumeration districts for each of the censuses, 1880 to 1940. The list is arranged by state, thereunder by county, and thereunder by locality.
———. Geographic Index to Census Microfilm (Major Subdivisions). This is the title of National Archives and Records Service Form NAR T56, bound, processed sets of completed copies of which comprise this finding aid. The forms are arranged alphabetically by state and thereunder alphabetically by county and major city. The forms show, for each subdivision, where applicable, the numbers assigned the rolls of microfilm that reproduce the schedules for that subdivision for each of the decennial censuses, 1800 to 1880. Sets of this finding aid are available for use in the Microfilm Reading Room of the National Archives.
———. Population Schedules, 1800–1870: Volume Index to Counties and Major Cities. National Archives and Records Service Lists, no. 8. Washington, D.C., 1969. Each bound volume of schedules in the National Archives bears an identifying number which is shown in this publication. Its arrangement is alphabetical by name of state and thereunder by name of county.
———. Records of the Bureau of the Census. Preliminary Inventory no. 161. Washington, D.C., 1964. Includes an administrative history of census-taking, an outline of preservation problems, and a description of the population schedules (1790 to 1950).
National Archives Trust Fund Board. Federal Population Censuses, 1790–1890: A Catalog of Microfilm Copies of the Schedules. Washington, D.C.: National Archives Trust Fund Board, 1979. This catalog is arranged chronologically, thereunder by state or territory, and then by county. Given for each microfilm publication is the series number and the total number of microfilm rolls in the enumeration. The catalog further identifies each microfilm roll by number and contents.
———. 1900 Federal Population Census: A Catalog of Microfilm Copies of the Schedules. Washington, D.C., 1978. This catalog lists the 1,854 rolls of microfilm on which the 1900 population census schedules appear. The census schedules are arranged by state or territory and then by county. Numbers for the 7,846 rolls of 1900 Soundex appear in the second half of the book.
——. The 1910 Federal Population Census: A Catalog of Microfilm Copies of the Schedules. Washington, D.C., 1982. This catalog lists the 1,784 rolls of microfilm on which the 1910 population census schedules appear. The census schedules are arranged by state or territory and then by county. Numbers for the 4,642 rolls of 1910 Soundex/Miracode appear in the second half of the catalog.
———. The 1920 Federal Population Census: Catalog of National Archives Microfilm. Washington, D.C., 1991. This catalog lists the 8,585 rolls of 1920 Soundex in the front portion of the book. The catalog lists 2,076 rolls of 1920 census schedules arranged by state or territory and then by county.
Nelson, Ken. 1890 Census Index Register. Salt Lake City: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1984.
Norton, James S. New Jersey in 1793. Distributed by The Everton Publishers, Box 368, Logan UT 84321.
Owen, Lois, and Theodore R. Nelson, comps. New York City 1915 State Census Street Address Index. Edited by Raymond G. Matthews. Vol. 2, Brooklyn. Salt Lake City: Family History Library, 1993.
Parker, J. Carlyle. City, County, Town and Township Index to the 1850 Census Schedules. Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1979. Designed to identify cities, counties, towns, and townships in every state as they were in 1850, this alphabetically arranged list matches localities with appropriate census microfilm numbers. Its usefulness is not limited to the 1850 census because it can be used as a gazetteer to locate places that no longer exist and places that have been lost due to boundary changes.
Petty, Gerald M. “Virginia 1820 Federal Census: Names Not on the Microfilm Copy.” Virginia Genealogist vol. 18 (1974): 136–39.
Schedules of the Colorado State Census of 1885. National Archives Microfilm Publication M-158, 8 rolls.
Schedules of the Florida State Census of 1885. National Archives Microfilm Publication M-845, 13 rolls.
Schedules of the Nebraska State Census of 1885. National Archives Microfilm Publication M-352, 56 rolls.
Schedules of the New Mexico Territory Census of 1885. National Archives Microfilm Publication M-846, 6 rolls.
The schedules of the 1885 Dakota Territory census are divided, the appropriate portions being held by the state historical societies of North and South Dakota. In addition to the federally supported 1885 state censuses, other states took censuses without federal support (see the sources listed earlier).
Schlesinger, Keith R. “An 'Urban Finding Aid' for the Federal Census.” Prologue vol. 13, no. 4 (Winter 1981): 251–62.
———, and Peggy Tuck Sinko. “Urban Finding Aid for Manuscript Census Searches.” National Genealogical Society Quarterly vol. 69, no. 3 (September 1981): 171–80.
Shepard, JoAnne (Bureau of the Census). Age Search Information. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1990.
Sistler, Byron, and Barbara Sistler. Index to Early East Tennessee Tax Lists. Nashville: Byron Sistler and Associates, 1977.
Stephenson, Charles. “The Methodology of Historical Census Record Linkage: A User's Guide to the Soundex.” Journal of Family History vol. 5, no. 1 (Spring 1980): 112–15. Reprinted in Prologue 12, no. 2 (Fall 1980): 151–53.
Steuart, Bradley W. The Soundex Reference Guide: Soundex Codes to Over 125,000 Surnames. Bountiful, Utah: Precision Indexing, 1990.
Straney, Shirley Garton. “1800 Census, Cumberland County; A Contribution.” Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey vol. 60, no. 1 (January 1985): 27–34.
Street Indexes to the 39 Largest Cities in the 1910 Census. National Archives Microfiche Publication M-1283.
Stryker-Rodda, Kenn. Revolutionary Census of New Jersey: An Index, Based on Ratables of the Inhabitants During the Period of the American Revolution. New Orleans: Polyanthos, 1972.
Swenson, Helen Smothers. Index to 1890 Census of the United States. Round Rock, Tex.: the author, 1981.
Szucs, Loretto Dennis, and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking. The Archives: A Guide to the National Archives Field Branches. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1988.
Thorndale, William. “Census Indexes and Spelling Variants.” APG [Association of Professional Genealogists] Newsletter 4, no. 5 (May 1982): 6–9. Reprinted in Arlene Eakle and Johni Cerny, eds. The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1984, pp. 17–20.
———, and William Dollarhide. Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790–1920. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1987.
Thurber, Evangeline. “The 1890 Census Records of the Veterans of the Union Army.” National Genealogical Society Quarterly vol. 34 (March 1946): 7–9.
U.S. Bureau of the Census. 200 Years of U.S. Census Taking: Population and Housing Questions, 1790–1990. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1989. Earlier editions had different titles: Population and Housing Inquiries in U.S. Decennial Censuses, 1790–1970 (1973) and Twenty Censuses: Population and Housing Questions, 1790–1980 (1979).
U.S. Census Office. Eighth Census, 1860. Eighth Census, United States—1860. Act of Congress of Twenty-third May, 1850. Instructions to U.S. Marshals. Instructions to Assistants. Washington, D.C.: G. W. Bowman, 1860. Enumerator's instructions for the 1860 census (omitted from Wright and 200 Years of U.S. Census Taking).
U. S. Congress. Senate. The History and Growth of the United States Census. Prepared for the Senate Committee on the Census by Carroll D. Wright. S. doc. 194, 56 cong., I sess., serial 385b. Reprint, 1967. In the appendixes are reproduced the schedules of inquiry of each of the decennial censuses from 1790 to 1890 and the instructions for the taking of each of the decennial censuses from 1820 to 1890.
U.S. Library of Congress. Census Library Project. State Censuses: An Annotated Bibliography of Censuses of Population Taken After the Year 1790 by States and Territories of the United States. Prepared by Henry J. Dubester. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1948.
———. Index to the Eleventh Census of the United States, 1890. National Archives Microfilm Publication M-496, 2 rolls.
———. Special Schedules of the Eleventh Census (1890) Enumerating Union Veterans and Widows of Union Veterans of the Civil War. National Archives Microfilm Publication M-123, 118 rolls. The schedules for the states alphabetically from Alabama through Kansas and part of Kentucky were destroyed before the veterans schedules were acquired by the National Archives in 1943. Only the schedules for the states in the latter part of the alphabet are thus available for use. In recent years, state-by-state indexes for the veterans schedules have become available. They must, of course, be used with the same caution as any census indexes.
U.S. National Archives. Federal Population Censuses, 1790–1890. Washington, D.C.: National Archives, various dates.
———. 1900 Federal Population Census. Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1978.
———. 1910 Federal Population Census. Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1982.
———. 1920 Federal Population Census. Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1991.
Vallentine, John F. “Effective Use of Census Indexes in Locating People.” Genealogical Journal 4, no. 2 (June 1975): 51–58.
———. “State and Territories Census Records in the United States.” Genealogical Journal 2, no. 4 (December 1973): 133–39.
Volkel, Lowell M. Illinois Mortality Schedule 1850. 3 vols. Indianapolis: Heritage House, 1972.
———. Illinois Mortality Schedule 1860. 5 vols. Indianapolis: Heritage House, 1979.
———. Illinois Mortality Schedule 1870. 2 vols. Indianapolis: Heritage House, 1985.
Warren, James W. Minnesota 1900 Census Mortality Schedules. St. Paul, Minn.: Warren Research and Marketing, 1991–92.
Warren, Mary Bondurant. “Census Enumerations: How Were They Taken? Do Local Copies Exist?” Family Puzzlers no. 475 (November 1976): 1–16.
Wright, Carroll D. The History and Growth of the United States Census. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1900; reprint, New York: Johnson Reprint, 1966. A basic source for background and details of the census-taking process, 1790 to 1890. There is nothing as detailed for later censuses.