U.S. State Census Guide Family History

The Complete Guide to U.S. State Census Records by Year

By Bridget M. Sunderlin, CG®

As family historians, almost all of us have used census population schedules. In the U.S., Federal census records are critical to family history research. Each time the federal census was taken (every 10 years starting in 1790), new questions were posed that aligned with the times. Residents’ ages, birth places, nationalities and even marriage date, illness and military affiliation were sometimes noted. You can see our complete guide to the federal censuses here.

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But the U.S. government was not the only one taking censuses. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, many states conducted their own censuses as well. These schedules were taken in the space between the decades, making them particularly valuable, and are packed with information. We discussed these records in an earlier article on Family History Daily.

In this guide you will find details about what these important records may contain, as well as a full list of every single state census and where you can search them for yourself. We have included free options, as well as links to these records on the top subscription sites, for every available location.

What’s Not Included in This Guide

Please note that we have only included information for state censuses taken once a location achieved statehood – and only the main population schedules for that state (those that typically contain heads of household or family groups).

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This guide does not include territorial censuses taken before statehood unless they are part of a larger collection, or special schedules (such as mortality, veterans or business). Many states do have these additional records, however, and they can be very helpful.

If you find that your state offers census records, consider also visiting the FamilySearch Wikis to see what other schedules might be available. Go to this page and search for your state and the word “census” to do so.

Family History Daily also offers a guide to free, online state archives and these databases may contain additional census, territorial or related records. See the U.S. state by state research guide here.

What Information Can Be Found on a State Census Record?

The state census identified heads-of-households and family groups, and focused on questions of birthplace, age, and occupation. Many were just as complex as their federal counterparts, while some came from a more limited angle.

In some cases, state census records can even provide greater specificity than its federal counterpart. For instance, you might find mention of a stepchild, son-in-law or even an apprentice in the 1855 state census for New York (above) – whereas the federal census did not start recording such relationships to the head of household until 1880.

As was common in the federal census records of the time, some state’s also highlighted education and health factors, as in the 1885 Nebraska state census below.

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Nebraska State Census 1885 - Listing for Deaf and Dumb

Others, including New York’s 1915 state census, asked questions pertaining to citizenship as well as institutional confinement.

State censuses are an amazing resource that may close gaps in your research, especially when federal schedules are lost. If you have New York ancestors, the famous loss of the 1890 U.S. census can almost be remedied by researching New York State’s 1892 census.

Several states, including Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota and Wisconsin ran a state census in 1895 as well, making them especially useful for filling in that gap at the end of the 19th century.

At a time in history when other records may lack information, state censuses sometimes offer great detail that may not exist elsewhere and help you identify names and details about family members who died or married between the decades. They often pinpoint locality with a higher degree of accuracy as well. Don’t miss these valuable documents.

Here’s How to Access State Census Records for Family History Research

The following list attempts to include only state-issued censuses taken after each state entered the union. To ensure that your research has identified all possible state censuses, it is always wise to contact the archives for each state.

For each state we have listed the years where a census is available, as well as the locations online where you can find those records. We have attempted to find these censuses on FamilySearch, an always free option. Popular subscription sites($) that contain these records are listed for your convenience.

Because we have teamed up with many subscription sites to bring you deals and information about their services, we may earn a commission if you take advantage of the records on these sites. This is how we support the work done on Family History Daily at no additional cost to you. 

Alabama

Entered the union on 14 December 1819.

  • 1820
  • 1850
  • 1855
  • 1866

Each of the censuses listed above can be found at Ancestry ($). See Alabama State Census, 1820-1866. FamilySearch has the 1855 and 1866 censuses (free), as does FindMyPast ($) and MyHeritage ($).


Alaska

Entered the union on 3 January 1959.

  • No state census records

Arizona

Entered the union on 14 February 1912.

  • No state census records

Arkansas

Entered the union on 15 June 1836.

  • No state census records

California

Entered the union on 9 September 1850.

  • 1852

The census listed above can be found at FamilySearch (free), MyHeritage ($) and Ancestry ($) – see California State Census.


Colorado

Entered the union on 1 August 1876.

  • 1885

The census listed above can be found at FamilySearch (free), MyHeritage ($) and Ancestry ($) – see Colorado State Census.


Connecticut

Entered the union on 9 January 1788.

  • None

Delaware

Entered the union on 7 December 1787.

  • None

Florida

Entered the union on 3 March 1845.

  • 1867
  • 1875
  • 1885
  • 1935
  • 1945

Head of household was included in the 1867 and 1875 censuses. Household members were included in 1885, 1935 and 1945. The 1885, 1935 and 1945 censuses can be found at FamilySearch (free) and all of them can be found at Ancestry ($) – see Florida State Census. FindMyPast ($) has 1935 and 1945 and MyHeritage has 1885, 1935 and 1945.


Georgia

Entered the union on 2 January 1788.

  • 1798
  • 1799
  • 1804
  • 1834
  • 1837
  • 1838
  • 1845
  • 1852
  • 1853
  • 1859
  • 1865
  • 1879

Each of the state censuses listed above are only held locally, within Georgia. Learn more by investigating the Georgia Department of Archives and History.


Hawaii

Entered the union on 21 August 1959.

  • None

Idaho

Entered the union on 3 July 1890.

  • None

Illinois

Entered the union on 3 December 1818.

  • 1818
  • 1820
  • 1825
  • 1830
  • 1835
  • 1845
  • 1855
  • 1865

FamilySearch (free) has the 1855 and 1865 censuses. All of the state censuses listed above, except the 1818 and 1820 census, can be found at Ancestry ($). See Illinois State Census Collection, 1825-1865.


Indiana

Entered the union on 11 December 1816.

  • 1853 and beyond

State censuses were taken in six-year increments, for legislative purposes. According to the state archives, these lack family group information.


Iowa

Entered the union on 28 December 1846.

  • 1846
  • 1847
  • 1849
  • 1851
  • 1852
  • 1856
  • 1885
  • 1895
  • 1905
  • 1915
  • 1925

The censuses listed above can be found at Ancestry ($). See Iowa, State Census Collection, 1836-1925 at Ancestry. FamilySearch (free) has 1885, 1895, 1905, 1915, 1925. The 1905 census can also be found at MyHeritage ($).


Kansas

Entered the union on 29 January 1861.

  • 1865
  • 1875
  • 1885
  • 1895
  • 1905
  • 1915
  • 1925

Each of the censuses listed above can be found at Ancestry ($). See Kansas State Census Collection, 1855-1925. Also found at FamilySearch (free), which separates each census into its own collection.


Kentucky

Entered the union on 1 June 1792.

  • None

Louisiana

Entered the union on 30 April 1812.

  • 1853
  • 1858

Partial censuses, some areas are missing. Contact the Louisiana State Archives.


Maine

Entered the union on 15 March 1820.

  • 1837

This is only a partial census, as some areas are missing. See the Maine State Archives.


Maryland

Entered the union on 28 April 1788.

  • None

Massachusetts

Entered the union on 6 February 1788.

  • 1855
  • 1865

The Massachusetts state censuses listed above can be found at FamilySearch (free) and Ancestry has 1865 ($).  Several were lost, including 1837, 1840, 1850, 1875, 1885, 1895, 1905, 1915, 1925, 1935, 1945.


Michigan

Entered the union on 26 January 1837.

  • 1834
  • 1845
  • 1854
  • 1864
  • 1874
  • 1884
  • 1894
  • 1904

Census records for 1884 can be accessed at MyHeritage ($). See FamilySearch (free) and Ancestry ($) to view 1894 census records. For census records before 1884, visit Michiganology. The 1904 census records were lost.


Minnesota

Entered the union on 11 May 1858.

  • 1865
  • 1875
  • 1885
  • 1895
  • 1905

All of the Minnesota State censuses listed above can be found at FamilySearch (free), MyHeritage ($), Ancestry ($) and FindMyPast ($).


Mississippi

Entered the union on 10 December 1817.

  • 1818
  • 1820
  • 1822
  • 1823
  • 1824
  • 1825
  • 1830
  • 1833
  • 1837
  • 1840
  • 1841
  • 1845
  • 1850
  • 1853
  • 1860
  • 1866

The censuses listed above can be found at FamilySearch and Ancestry ($). Note that some state censuses cover limited areas. See Mississippi, State Archives, Various Records, 1820-1951 at FamilySearch to access these records for free, you can filter your search by census.


Missouri

Entered the union on 10 August 1821.

  • 1840
  • 1844
  • 1852
  • 1856
  • 1860
  • 1864
  • 1876
  • 1880

The censuses listed above can be found at FamilySearch (free) and Ancestry ($) for limited counties – see Missouri State and Territorial Census Records, 1732-1933 on FamilySearch and the Missouri State Census Collection, 1844-1881 at Ancestry.


Montana

Entered the union on 8 November 1889.

  • None

Nebraska

Entered the union on 1 March 1867.

  • 1869
  • 1885

The 1885 census can be found at FamilySearch (free) and Ancestry ($). See Nebraska, State Census Collection, 1860-1885 at Ancestry.


Nevada

Entered the union on 31 October 1864.

  • 1875

This census can be viewed at Ancestry ($). See Nevada State Census.


New Hampshire

Entered the union on 21 June 1788.

  • None

New Jersey

Entered the union on 18 December 1787.

  • 1855
  • 1865
  • 1875
  • 1885
  • 1895
  • 1905
  • 1915

All of the censuses listed above can be found at Ancestry ($) and FamilySearch (free), except 1875, which is only available at Ancestry.


New Mexico

Entered the union on 6 January 1912.

  • None

New York

Entered the union on 26 July 1788.

  • 1855
  • 1865
  • 1875
  • 1892
  • 1905
  • 1915
  • 1925

All of the New York state censuses listed above can be found at FamilySearch (free) and Ancestry ($).


North Carolina

Entered the union on 21 November 1789.

  • None

North Dakota

Entered the union on 2 November 1889.

  • 1915
  • 1925

The state censuses listed above can be found at FamilySearch (free) and Ancestry ($). See North Dakota, Territorial and State Censuses, 1885, 1915, 1925 at Ancestry.


Ohio

Entered the union on 1 March 1803.

  • None

Oklahoma

Entered the union on 16 November 1907.

  • None

Oregon

Entered the union on 14 February 1859.

  • 1865
  • 1870
  • 1875
  • 1885
  • 1895
  • 1905

Visit the Oregon State Archives to view state censuses, which cover limited counties. Copies may also be found at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.


Pennsylvania

Entered the union on 12 December 1787.

  • None

Rhode Island

Entered the union on 29 May 1790.

  • 1865
  • 1875
  • 1885
  • 1895
  • 1905
  • 1915
  • 1925
  • 1935

All of the censuses listed above can be found at Ancestry ($). See Rhode Island, State Censuses, 1865-1935 at Ancestry. Visit FamilySearch (free) to view 1885, 1905, 1915, 1925 and 1935. The 1895 census was lost.


South Carolina

Entered the union on 23 May 1788.

  • 1829
  • 1839
  • 1869
  • 1875

The censuses listed above can be found at FamilySearch (free). See South Carolina State and Territorial Censuses, 1829-1920. 1829 and 1839 are only partial censuses. Contact the South Carolina Department of Archives and History for more information.


South Dakota

Entered the union on 2 November 1889.

  • 1895
  • 1905
  • 1915
  • 1925
  • 1935
  • 1945

All of the South Dakota stats censuses listed above can be found at Ancestry ($). All, except 1895 can be accessed at FamilySearch (free), MyHeritage ($) and FindMyPast ($).


Tennesee

Entered the union on 1 June 1796.

  • 1891

The census of 1891 enumerated male voters only. Contact the Tennessee State Library and Archives to learn more.


Texas

Entered the union on 29 December 1845.

  • None

Utah

Entered the union on 4 January 1896.

  • None

Vermont

Entered the union on 4 March 1791.

  • None

Virginia

Entered the union on 25 June 1788.

  • None

Washington

Entered the union on 11 November 1889.

  • None

West Virginia

Entered the union on 20 June 1863.

  • None

Wisconsin

Entered the union on 29 May 1848.

  • 1855
  • 1865
  • 1875
  • 1885
  • 1895
  • 1905

All of the Wisconsin State censuses listed above can be found at FamilySearch (free) and Ancestry ($).


Wyoming

Entered the union on 10 July 1890.

  • 1905
  • 1915
  • 1925

Contact the Wyoming State Archives to learn more about these “statistical only” returns.

Tip: Many states also offer censuses created before statehood (territorial) or additional schedules (mortality etc). To find out what’s available for each state visit this page on FamilySearch and search for your state and the word “census.”

Also read our Guide to the U.S. Census for Genealogy, which breaks down information found in every federal U.S. census year.

Resources –

Val D. Greenwood, The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy, Fourth Edition (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2017).

Loretto Dennis Szucs and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking, editors, The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy, Third Edition (North Provo, Utah: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006).

FamilySearch, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (https://www.familysearch.org/en/ : accessed 12 October 2020), state census wikipages.

“State Censuses,” U.S. Department of Commerce, United States Census Bureau (https://www.census.gov/history/www/genealogy/other_resources/state_censuses.html : accessed 12 October 2020), webpage.

Samuel Shipley, “List of U.S. States’ Dates of Admission to the Union,” Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., Britannica (https://www.britannica.com/topic/list-of-U-S-states-by-date-of-admission-to-the-Union-2130026 : accessed 12 October 2020), webpage.

“Stately Knowledge: Facts About the United States,” IPL.org, IPL (https://www.ipl.org/div/stateknow : accessed 12 October 2020), webpage.

Bridget M. Sunderlin, CG® practices in Maryland. She is the owner of Be Rooted Genealogy, where she specializes in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Ireland, and Scotland research.

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