Census Records for Delaware

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This entry was originally written by Roger D. Joslyn, CG, FUGA, FGBS, FASG, in Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
Delaware sil.png
the Delaware Family History Research series.
History of Delaware
Delaware Vital Records
Census Records for Delaware
Background Sources for Delaware
Delaware Maps
Delaware Land Records
Delaware Probate Records
Delaware Court Records
Delaware Tax Records
Delaware Cemetery Records
Delaware Church Records
Delaware Military Records
Delaware Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
Delaware Archives, Libraries, and Societies
Delaware Immigration
Delaware Naturalization
Ethnic Groups of Delaware
Delaware County Resources
Delaware Special Interests
Map of Delaware


Population Schedules

• Indexed'1800, 1810, 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930

• Soundex'1880, 1900, 1920

Industry and Agriculture Schedules

• 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880

Mortality Schedules

• 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880 (all published)

Slave Schedules

• 1850, 1860 (both published)

From the second federal census of 1800, the records for Delaware are complete, indexed, and widely available (see pages 2-3). Printed indexes through 1870 are also available, with two each for 1850 and 1870, and three for 1860.

The first census for 1790 was lost or destroyed. The claim that it was found in the Cornell University Library is unfounded, but a reconstruction from tax and assessment records was compiled by former state archivist Leon de Valinger, Jr., and published by the National Genealogical Society as Reconstructed 1790 Census of Delaware, NGS Special Publication No. 10, 2d printing (Washington, D.C.: NGS, 1962).

The original mortality schedules, which are at the Delaware Public Archives, have been published, as have the 1850 and 1860 slave schedules. Other non-population schedules for 1850 through 1880 are at the archives, as are the original state copies of the federal population censuses for these years.

There is a collection of census indexes at Ancestry.com called the Delaware Census, 1790-1890 that contains the following indexes: 1790 Federal Census Index; 1800 Federal Census; 1810 Federal Census Index; 1820 Federal Census Index; 1830 Federal Census Index; 1840 Federal Census Index; 1840 Pensioners List; 1850 Federal Census Index; 1860 Federal Census Index; 1860 Slave Schedules; 1870 Federal Census Index; 1890 Veterans Schedule.


Some earlier Delaware 'censuses' have been published from tax and other records. These include Ralph D. Nelson, Jr., and others, Delaware 1782 Tax Assessment and Census List (Wilmington: Delaware Genealogical Society, 1994), and Ronald Vern Jackson, Early Delaware Census Records, 1665'1697 (Bountiful, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems, 1977). A 1688 census for Kent County was published in volume 37 of The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine in 1991, which corrects the incomplete 'Kent County Census' in Delaware Genealogical Journal 3 (1986): 49-51. Two works by Peter Stebbins Craig present other early censuses: The 1671 Census of Delaware (Philadelphia: Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, 1999), and The 1693 Census of the Swedes on the Delaware: Family Histories of the Swedish Lutheran Church Members Residing in Pennsylvania, Delaware, West New Jersey and Cecil County, Maryland, 1638'1693 (Winter Park, Fla.: SAG Publications, 1993).

External Links

  • Delaware Census Records - free up-to-date guide to accessing Delaware census records. Identifies federal, state, and colonial censuses, as well as substitute records (FamilySearch Research Wiki).