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State Censuses - Often Overlooked



 

census-takerOften overlooked when doing family history research are the individual state censuses. The U. S. Federal censuses started in 1790 and were done every 10 years. The individual states would do their own census within their borders, sometimes five years after a federal census. Other times it was quite random when one was completed.

The type of questions asked in a state census also varied greatly from the federal government ones. So there can be a wealth of previously unknown information on your ancestors found in a state census.

On microfilm are available state censuses with the Family History Centers of the Church of the Latter-Day Saints, the online FamilySearch.org site and many fee subscription databases (such as Ancestry.com) also carry the state censuses. The U. S. Census web site does provide some additional information in searching for individual state censuses.

With any ancestors from a few select states which did multiple censuses you can be very fortunate. Places like the State of Washington, Georgia, Oregon, Iowa, Florida, Mississippi, and New York have many years covered. Some others have information when the land was still a territory, not a state. Even the District of Columbia has three censuses of the district covering 1803, 1867 and 1878; all interesting periods in Washington, D.C.’s history.

Also try to an Internet search (using Google) by placing the state name along with the phrase ‘state census’ to see what is available online. It will take some work, but there just might a new found treasure available.  Remember to try surrounding states to what you believe was an ancestors’ home state, they may have moved for a few years.

1905 census St Vincent, Kitson County, Minnesota James Hamilton family

1905 census St Vincent, Kitson County, Minnesota
James Hamilton family

Most of the 50 states have at least one state census taken sometime in their history. However, there are a few where no state census was ever done, they include: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Kentucky, Maryland, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia. Many of those, like New Mexico were territories or a portion of another state, so there would data before certain ones were states.

The following is a list of the states and what state censuses are available.

United States, List of State Censuses

State censuses were created by state governments. Federal censuses were taken every 10 years from 1790 to the present. State censuses were taken in between the federal censuses. Usually the state censuses and federal censuses had similar information. For example, state censuses before 1850 usually give the name of the head of the household and the number of people in each household. After 1850, names and information for everyone in the household were given.

Alabama

Alabama became a state in 1819. State censuses were taken in Alabama in 1820, 1831, 1844, 1850, 1855, 1866 and 1907. See the census section of the Alabama Research Outline for more information.

Alaska

Alaska became a state in 1959. Alaska has no state censuses.

Arizona

Arizona became a state in 1912. Arizona has no state censuses.

Arkansas

Arkansas became a state in 1836. Arkansas has no state censuses.

California

California became a state in 1850. There is an 1852 state census for California. See the census section of the California Research Outline for more information.

Colorado

Colorado became a state in 1876. There are no state censuses for Colorado; however, there is a special 1885 federal census.

Connecticut

Connecticut became a state in 1788. Connecticut has no state censuses, except for a 1917 military census at the Connecticut State Library.

Delaware

Delaware became a state in 1787. Delaware has no state censuses.

District of Columbia

The District of Columbia has district censuses for 1803, 1807, 1818, 1867, and 1878, which are at the Maryland State Archives. There are also police censuses for 1885 to 1919, which list heads of households. See the census section of the District of Columbia Research Outline for more information.

Florida

Florida became a state in 1845. State censuses of Florida exist for 1845, 1855, 1865, 1868, 1875, 1885, 1895, 1935, and 1945. See the census section of the Florida Research Outline and Ancestry’s Redbook: American State, County, & Town Sources for more information.

Georgia

Georgia became a state in 1788. State censuses of Georgia were taken in various years. The original records are at the Georgia Department of Archives and History. There are state censuses at the Family History Library for some counties for 1827, 1834, 1837, 1838, 1845, 1852, 1859, and 1879.

Hawaii

Hawaii was annexed by the United States in 1898 and became a state in 1959. No state censuses of Hawaii have been taken. The Family History Library has the U. S. federal censuses of Hawaii for 1900, 1910, and 1920.

Idaho

Idaho became a state in 1890. Idaho has no state censuses.

Illinois

Illinois became a state in 1818. State censuses are available for 1825, 1835, 1845, 1855, and 1865.

Indiana

Indiana became a state in 1816. Indiana has some state enumerations for 1853 to 1877. For more information, see the census section of the Indiana Research Outline.

Iowa

Iowa became a state in 1846. State censuses were taken from 1846 to 1925. For more information, see the census section of the Iowa Research Outline.

Kansas

Kansas became a state in 1861. Kansas has state censuses for 1865, 1875, 1885, 1895, 1905, 1915, and 1925. For more information, see the census section of the Kansas Research Outline.

Kentucky

Kentucky became a state in 1792. There are no state censuses of Kentucky.

Louisiana

Louisiana became a state in 1812 and has state censuses for a few parishes: 1813 (St. Landry), 1833 (St. Tammany), 1837 (Ascension), 1856-57 (Carrollton). For more information on these, see Buckway, G. Eileen, and Fred Adams, U. S. State and Special Census Register: A Listing of Family History Library Microfilm Numbers.

Maine

Maine became a state in 1820. There was a Maine state census in 1837, which is available for several cities and towns.

Maryland

Maryland became a state in 1788. There are no state censuses for Maryland.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts became a state in 1788. There are state censuses for Massachusetts for 1855 and 1865.

Michigan

Michigan became a state in 1837. State censuses were taken in the years 1845, 1854, 1864, 1874, 1884, 1894, and 1904.

Minnesota

Minnesota became a state in 1858. State censuses were taken in 1865, 1875, 1885, 1895, and 1905.

Mississippi

Mississippi became a state in 1817. State censuses were taken in some counties in 1818, 1820, 1822, 1823, 1824, 1825, 1830, 1833, 1837, 1840, 1841, 1845, 1850, 1853, 1860, and 1866. For more information on these, see Buckway, G. Eileen, and Fred Adams, U. S. State and Special Census Register: A Listing of Family History Library Microfilm Numbers.

Missouri

Missouri became a state 1821. There are Missouri state censuses for a few counties for 1844, 1857 through 1858, 1868, and 1876.

Montana

Montana became a state in 1889. Montana has no state censuses.

Nebraska

Nebraska became a state in 1867. There are state censuses for 1869, 1885, and 1913 through 1914 (taken for German immigrants from Russia). For more information on Nebraska census records, see the census section of the Nebraska Research Outline.

Nevada

Nevada became a state in 1864, and a state census was taken in 1875.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire became a state in 1788. No state censuses were taken for New Hampshire.

New Jersey

New Jersey became a state in 1787. There are state censuses for 1855, 1865, 1875, 1885, 1895, 1905, and 1915. See the state census part in the census section of the New Jersey Research Outline for additional information on the state censuses.

New Mexico

New Mexico became a state in 1912. There are no state censuses for New Mexico.

New York

New York became a state in 1788. State censuses were taken in 1825, 1835, 1845, 1855, 1865, 1875, 1892, 1905, 1915, and 1925. (See the census section of the New York Research Outline for more information.)

North Carolina

North Carolina became a state in 1789. In North Carolina, no state censuses were taken.

North Dakota

North Dakota became a state in 1889. State censuses were taken in North Dakota in 1905, 1915, and 1925.

Ohio

Ohio became a state in 1803. All that remains of the 1810 census are the returns for Washington County. Some town or county enumerations were taken from 1803–1911. See the census section of the Ohio Research Outline for more information.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma became a state in 1907. There are no state censuses for Oklahoma. For more information, see the census section of the Oklahoma Research Outline.

Oregon

Oregon became a state in 1859. Oregon state censuses were taken in 1892 (Marion County) and 1905 (a few counties). See the census section of the Oregon Research Outline and the Oregon chapter of Ancestry’s Redbook: American State, County & Town Sources for more information.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania became a state in 1787. No state censuses were taken. However, the Pennsylvania State Archives has “septennial censuses” (tax lists with the names of the taxable inhabitants), which were taken every seven years, and exist for these counties:

1779: Bedford, Berks, Chester, Lancaster.

1786: Bedford, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Dauphin, Fayette, Franklin, Lancaster, Montgomery, Northampton, Washington, Westmoreland, York.

1793: Berks, Cumberland, Delaware, Lancaster, Montgomery, Philadelphia City, Philadelphia County, York.

1800: Adams, Allegheny, Armstrong, Bedford, Berks, Bucks, Centre, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Fayette, Franklin, Greene, Huntingdon, Lancaster, Luzerne, Lycoming, Mifflin, Montgomery, Northampton, Northumberland, Philadelphia City, Somerset, Washington, Wayne, Westmoreland, York.

1807: Dauphin (Derry Township), Franklin, Montgomery, York.

1814: Franklin.

1821: Columbia, Franklin, Huntingdon, Mifflin.

1828: Franklin.

1835: Franklin.

1842: Franklin, Montgomery (Pottsgrove Township only).

1849: Wyoming County.

1863: Philadelphia City.

For more information on these records, see Robert M. Dructor’s Guide to Genealogical Sources at the Pennsylvania State Archives.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island became a state in 1790. Rhode Island has state censuses for 1865, 1875, 1885, 1915, 1925, and 1936. For more information, see the census section of the Rhode Island Research Outline and Ancestry’s Redbook: American State, County, & Town Sources.

South Carolina

South Carolina became a state in 1788. South Carolina has state census records for some counties for 1829, 1839, 1848, 1869, and 1875. The original records are at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History. Some of them have been published in South Carolina periodicals. The 1848 census of Charleston city has been published and is at the Family History Library. See the census section of the South Carolina Research Outline for more information.

South Dakota

South Dakota became a state in 1889. State censuses were taken in South Dakota in 1895, 1905, 1915, 1925, 1935, and 1945. For more information, see the census section of the South Dakota Research Outline.

Tennessee

Tennessee became a state in 1796. No state censuses were taken in Tennessee.

Texas

Texas became a state in 1845. There are no state censuses for Texas.

Utah

Utah became a state in 1896. No state censuses for Utah have been taken since then.

Vermont

Vermont became a state in 1791. There are no state censuses for Vermont.

Virginia

Virginia became a state in 1788. There are no state censuses for Virginia. However, tax lists, available for most counties from about 1782 to 1850, are valuable census substitutes.

Washington

Washington became a state in 1889. A state census of Washington was taken in 1892.

West Virginia

West Virginia became a state in 1863. In West Virginia, no state censuses were taken.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin became a state in 1848, and Wisconsin state censuses were taken in 1855, 1865, 1875, 1885, 1895, and 1905.

Wyoming

Wyoming became a state in 1890. A 1905 Wyoming state census is at the Wyoming State Archives.

Photos: Census Taker and 1905 Minnesota census record for James Hamilton.

Related FamilyTree.com genealogical blogs:

Federal 1950 Census

How to Find Someone in a Census

Tips for Searching a Census Record

 

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