Census Records for Missouri

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This entry was originally written by Marsha Hoffman Rising CG, FUGA, FASG, and Pamela Boyer Porter, CGRS, CGL for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
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the Missouri Family History Research series.
History of Missouri
Missouri Vital Records
Census Records for Missouri
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Missouri Land Records
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Missouri Cemetery Records
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Missouri Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
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Missouri Territorial Records
African Americans of Missouri
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Map of Missouri


Population Schedules

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

• Soundex'1880, 1900, 1910, 1920

Industry and Agriculture Schedules

• 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880

Mortality Schedules

• 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880

Slave Schedules

• 1850, 1860

Union Veterans Schedules

• 1890 (all except Daviess and Dekalb counties; some inadvertently included Confederate veterans)

The censuses for the years 1810 and 1820 are lost for all districts. All the remaining population censuses (except for 1890) have survived. The State Historical Society of Missouri in Columbia holds microfilmed copies of all available federal population censuses for Missouri and will make available censuses through 1880 to Missouri residents on interlibrary loan. Mid-Continent Public Library in Independence also holds microfilmed copies of all federal censuses and Soundexes for Missouri and will loan these to Missouri libraries. The Missouri State Archives holds microfilmed copies of all federal censuses for Missouri including the Soundex. The Missouri State Archives knows of no state copies of the federal population schedules that survived the capitol building fire of 1911. It does hold the original federal supplement to the 1880 population census, which enumerated the 'defectives, delinquents, and dependents.' Called Supplemental Schedules Numbers 1'7, this part of the census enumerated those labeled 'Insane, Idiots, Deaf-mutes and Blind, Homeless Children, Prisoners, Paupers and Indigents.' Institutions were inventoried as well as private households. Since the county or state listed was the one of legal residence, the listing for the inhabitants of various institutions will give their last residence before moving into the institution. The Missouri Historical Society in St. Louis has the original agriculture, industry, slave, and mortality schedules. The State Historical Society of Missouri in Columbia has microfilmed copies of these supplemental schedules.

Territorial and State

Censuses were taken during the territorial period in 1814, 1817, and 1819, but only statistical summaries remain. There are listings of heads of families of New Madrid for 1797 and 1803. Heads of families were enumerated for St. Charles in 1817 and 1819 only. Some of the early Spanish censuses of Upper Louisiana have been retrieved from the archives in Seville, Spain, and were published in Louis Houck's The Spanish Regime in Missouri, 2 vols. (Chicago: R.R. Donnelley and Sons, 1909). This publication is an excellent documentary history of the time period between 1770 and 1804. Although Missouri conducted a number of state censuses, most of the individual schedules are lost; only the statistical abstracts remain. The state did compile a census corresponding to the 1840 U.S. census. Nine of those enumerations survived the capitol building fire of 1911. These are for the counties of New Madrid, Newton, Pike, Randolph, Ray, Shelby, Stoddard, Warren, and Rives (now Henry). The originals are located in the Missouri State Archives. A few listings remain for the state censuses of 1844, 1852, 1856, and 1868. Most of these are statistical abstracts only. The state census of 1876 exists for about one-fifth of Missouri's counties. The originals of many censuses remain in the counties, but microfilmed copies have been made by Missouri State Archives and can be searched at its facility. Schulyer County took a special census in 1880. These censuses are not individual enumerations, but by age group similar to the federal population schedules before 1850. They include the number of deaf, dumb, blind, insane, as well as the number of livestock and some agricultural items.

A query using the term 'census' in the Missouri State Archives local records inventory database will determine extant state censuses for each county. Bear in mind that Missouri State Archives has not completed inventories of all counties, so this database is incomplete.

External Links

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