In this guide we’re going to learn how to harness one of the most underused genealogical resources of the late 18th and early 19th centuries: the U.S. Censuses of 1790 to 1830. These gems can be a bit daunting with their tick marks and handwritten surnames, but they can contain some very helpful information when used correctly.
U.S. Census Research
Despite how valuable census records have become to family history researchers, they were not created for this purpose. For this reason we need to understand everything we can about this go-to resource if we are to walk away with the most accurate data available. Here are 9 census facts that may surprise you.
Upon first glance, the U.S. Census appears to be a powerful source for genealogists. With its wide array of information, from ages and family relationships to countries of origin, it seems to be overflowing with facts that can help us follow the lives of our ancestors across time. But, I say, “Researchers, beware!”
If your ancestors lived in the United States before 1890, you are sure to run into a frustrating gap in United States census records. Sadly, there is practically no 1890 U.S. Census left. But, luckily, there are substitute records that can help you overcome this hurdle.
Back before the days of welfare, food stamps, and long-term disability insurance, people who were unable to support themselves financially sometimes had to live in these places. This article will explain what poor houses and poor farms were and how to find your ancestors who may have lived there.
If you are one of the millions of people who have an ancestor that lived in the Unites States in 1880 and had a physical or mental impairment or illness – or who was homeless, an orphan, an alcoholic, a prisoner, who was living in an institution or poor house, or who received government assistance – you’ll want to know about these often overlooked census schedules.
The U.S. Federal Census is, arguably, one of the best record collections in existence when it comes to gathering information about your American ancestors. The standard information – including family relationships, occupations, ages, years of immigration etc- can be extremely valuable to a family historian. Most of this information is very easy to find, as long as you can locate your ancestors in a particular year. But, there are some pieces of information in the census that aren’t easy to understand, or even find.
Most genealogists use federal census records on a regular basis. Few resources are, after all, as packed full of information and as easy to access as a census. And, while we all know that the details found in a census can often be incorrect, this helpful record collection has become a family history staple for good reason. No other resource recorded details about our ancestor’s lives in such a frequent and predictable way and, often times, the federal census may seem to be the only method we have to explore our ancestors’ lives between birth, marriage and death. However, a recent comment by a Family History Daily reader reminded us that there is another related resource group that many people researching US ancestors are either unaware of, or regularly underuse. And it’s a very valuable one.
U.S. Census records offer a unique look into the past and a chance to discover valuable details about your family’s history. Our quick guide for genealogy is designed to help beginner and intermediate family history researchers alike by addressing basic questions about using the census for genealogy research and providing detailed summaries of the information found in each census year.
Census and population records have long been a vital component of genealogy research. Those of us researching the U.S. have come to count on the decennial federal census to provide a generous amount of information about our ancestors, even if it is not always as accurate as we’d like. And (aside from the 1890 census that was …