Doing your family genealogy you have and will continue to use the U. S. Federal Censuses. They are a very valuable tool in research. From the first census in 1790 showing approximately 3.9 million people in the new country to the latest 2010 census with 308.7 million residents it is so important to check all the censuses available for information about your ancestors. Each census counted as many people as could be located, whether they were a U. S. citizen or not, they counted.
There are some interesting facts to learn overall about the United States and its population over the decades. One especially is where the center of the country’s population is situated. By definition from the Census Bureau, “the center is determined as the place where an imaginary, flat, weightless and rigid map of the United States would balance perfectly if all residents were of identical weight.” Back with the first census, 1790, the center was located in Kent County, Maryland. By 1810 it move west to Loudoun County, Virginia and to Pike County, Ohio in 1860. In 1900 the center was in Bartholomew County, Indiana. Clay County, Illinois was the center in 1950 and in 2010 it is Texas County, Missouri.
The Federal Census Bureau has several interesting sites that explain and show more about the history of the census. In pictures, the history of the census is on this site ‘photo‘. For audio presentations there is the audio site. For video information the census history is on the video site.
It can provide you with more understanding of just how much general information a census can gather besides names of ancestors, for example the quick facts of the 2010 for each states is available. Use this to review not only a state’s population make-up based on males vs females, ages, occupations, incomes and education, but also each county in a state and each major city in the states. Check out a family hometown or right where you live now. It is quite enlightening information.
The 1940 Federal Census was recently released to the public in April 2012. It will take you awhile to go over all that data for each relative. Do not worry if at first you can not locate an ancestor or two. I still have my own mother and my mother-in-law to locate.
The FamilySearch.org is a good free source to look at the different censuses. Be sure to check any state censuses also. They help in-between the once every ten years of the federal census. The state of Florida had the 1945 state census, a great follow-up after the 1940 Federal census.< Return To Blog