Census Records for Massachusetts

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This entry was originally written by Alice Eichholz, Ph.D., CG, for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

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


Population Schedules

• Indexed'1790, 1800 (incomplete), 1810, 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930

• Soundex'1880, 1900, 1920

Industry and Agriculture Schedules

• 1850, 1860, 1870

Mortality Schedules

• 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880

Union Veterans Schedules

• 1890

All of the Massachusetts federal census records and indexes are available as online images from subscription databases (see page 17). Microfilm of all federal census records is available at the New England Historic Genealogical Society, and other major repositories. The Massachusetts Archives holds original state copies and microfilm copies of the federal population, mortality, industry, and agriculture schedules. Original schedules for 1850, 1860, and 1870 are available for research; the original 1880 schedule is available if the microfilm is not clear. The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) have prepared an indexed transcript of the 1850 Massachusetts mortality schedule, a copy of which is at the New England Historic Genealogical Society. The 1890 Veterans enumeration and all other federal census records are available on microfilm at the National Archives'Northeast Region both in Boston (Waltham) and Pittsfield (see page 11).

The 1800 census does not include enumerations for Boston or much of Suffolk County, but the published 1798 U.S. Direct Tax for Boston may be helpful (see Massachusetts Tax Records).


Massachusetts conducted two state census enumerations (1855 and 1865), which contain information similar to the federal schedules. The originals are at the Massachusetts Archives and some transcripts with indexes have been published. Towns completed are in Essex, Middlesex, and Plymouth counties and available at the archives. This makes it possible to follow a family in the census records for every five-year period between 1850 and 1870, a critical time given immigration and Industrial Revolution mobility.

External Links

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