View Full Version : Census information

June Pelo
08-04-11, 16:28
The three most significant censuses are the 1790, the 1850 and the 1900. 1790 is important because it was the very first U. S. Census. The 1850 census was the first to name everyone in the household and one of the first to be widely indexed. The 1900 census is important because of indexing and the information it contains. It is also important because the 1890 census was almost completely destroyed by fire. On top of that, the 1880 and 1910 censuses may be of limited value to some researchers for these reasons: The 1880 census is only indexed for households with children under 10. The 1910 census was indexed for only 21 states and the most heavily populated states, such as New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts were omitted. Thus, in either direction from 1900, you may have a gap of 20 years between helpful census returns.

The 1900 census indicates who was the head of the household and the relationship of each person to the head. It also gives the month and year of birth. It includes the number of years married, which helps when looking for the year of the marriage certificate. It recorded the number of children and how many are still living. This can tell you if you have identified all the children, or if the large gap in years between children means there was one or more not identified.

Since so many people immigrated to the U. S. in the 1890s, many researchers find that the 1900 census is especialy helpful for learning about immigrant families. It gives the birthplace of the individual, the birthplace of the parents; also the year of immigration which helps to find the ships' passenger records. It also states whether an individual is naturalized which helps in locating naturalization papers. Whether they could read, write and speak English is useful in determining the accuracy of the information. If a person did not speak English, he or she might not have understood the question and therefore have given a wrong answer. Or the census taker might have taken it upon himself to spell the name as he thought it should be, because the person did not know how his name was spellled.

Donna Przecha
Submitted by June Pelo