State and Local Censuses

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The United States Federal Census

This article is part of a series.
Overview of the U.S. Census
Finding and Reading U.S. Census Records
1790 U.S. Census
1800 U.S. Census
1810 U.S. Census
1820 U.S. Census
1830 U.S. Census
1840 U.S. Census
1850 U.S. Census
1860 U.S. Census
1870 U.S. Census
1880 U.S. Census
1890 U.S. Census
1900 U.S. Census
1910 U.S. Census
1920 U.S. Census
1930 U.S. Census
1940 U.S. Census
Census Indexes and Finding Aids
Using the Soundex with Census Records
Non-Population Schedules and Special Censuses
State and Local Censuses
Census Substitutes
African American Census Schedules
Reconstructed 1790 Census Schedules
Censuses of Native Americans
List of Useful Census References

This article originally appeared in "Census Records" by Loretto Dennis Szucs and Matthew Wright in The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy

Population counts taken by state and local governments, though generally more difficult to find than the federal decennial censuses, can be very useful in family history research. In some cases, state and local census details will supplement information found in the federal counts; in others they may provide the only census information available for a given family or individual.

State Censuses

State censuses were often taken in years between the federal censuses. In some places, local censuses were designed to collect specific data, such as the financial strengths and needs of communities; tallies of school-age children and potential school populations to predict needs for teachers and facilities; censuses of military strength, cavalry horse resources, and grain storage; enumeration for revenue assessment and urban planning; and lists to monitor African Americans moving into northern cities.

As noted by Ann S. Lainhart in her comprehensive study State Census Records, tallies taken at the state level take on special importance for researchers attempting to fill in gaps left by missing censuses.<ref>Ann S. Lainhart, State Census Records (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1992).</ref> For example, state and territorial censuses taken in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, and Wisconsin between 1885 and 1895 can partially compensate for the missing 1890 federal census schedules.

Additionally, some remarkably detailed state censuses are available for recent years. The Florida State Archives, for example, has 1935 and 1945 state enumerations. Like most other state schedules, the Florida state manuscripts are not indexed; they are arranged alphabetically by county and then geographically by election precincts. As with research in most state censuses, users must obtain election precinct numbers to expedite a search.

Probably no other state enumeration surpasses the 1925 Iowa state census in terms of genealogical value. In that year, Iowa asked for the names of all its residents and their relationship to the head of that household; the place of their abode (including house number and street in cities and towns); their sex, color or race, age at last birthday, place of birth, and marital status. It also asked if they were foreign born, the year they were naturalized, the number of years they had been in the United States, and the number of years they had been in Iowa; their level of education; the names of their parents (including mother's maiden name), as well as the places of their birth; their parents' age, if living; and place of marriage of parents. There were nine specific questions relating to military service; nine questions regarding occupation; one about church affiliation; and six questions related to real estate, including the amount for which each listed property owner's house was insured.

A useful indication of what the Family History Library has on state and other censuses is 'U.S. State and Special Census Register: A Listing of Family History Library Microfilm Numbers.' It is an inventory, arranged by state and census year, describing the contents of each census and providing microfilm numbers for most known existing state censuses. The unpublished listing, compiled by G. Eileen Buckway and Fred Adams, was revised in 1992 and is available in the reference area of the Family History Library.<ref>G. Eileen Buckway and Fred Adams, comps., 'U.S. State and Special Census Register: A Listing of Family History Library Microfilm Numbers,' FHL book 973 X2be 1992; CCF 594,855.</ref>

Below is a summary of state census schedules for the years 1623 to 1950 that includes the date, comments on them, and their current locations. (The notation 'Ltd.' following the census year indicates that only a partial census of the state was completed or is available. A census date is only included for censuses where at least the name of the head of the household is listed. Territory censuses are also included where applicable. Special thanks to Ann S. Lainhart for her assistance in preparing this summary.) The vast wealth of data available in these local enumerations can take several forms.

Local Censuses

Local population schedules usually resemble those of corresponding federal enumerations, but those taken in New York and Boston during the colonial period included details later incorporated in federal censuses. Beginning as early as 1703, some cities required that a census be taken of their population. Although these city and town censuses are not as numerous as the federal population schedules, some may be worth the time it takes to find them.

Importance of Local Censuses

Local censuses can be useful in discovering the names of children who are listed in pre-1850 census schedules by age groupings only. Similarly, these censuses may be used to determine the number living in a household and compared with birth and death records. They may also verify specific residences of individuals who moved too rapidly to be recorded in other sources; and they may identify neighbors and other community members whose records can provide additional clues for tracing families and individuals back in time. Comparing local census schedules with tax records and other property sources is often one of the best ways to distinguish individuals of the same or similar names.

State Census Schedules, 1623-1950


1818 Ltd., 1820 Ltd., 1821 Ltd., 1823, 1850, 1855, 1866, 1907 Ltd.


1878 Ltd., 1879 Ltd., 1881 Ltd., 1885 Ltd., 1890'95 Ltd., 1904 Ltd., 1905 Ltd., 1906'07 Ltd., 1914 Ltd., 1917 Ltd.


1866 Ltd., 1867 Ltd., 1869 Ltd., 1872 Ltd., 1874 Ltd., 1876 Ltd., 1880 Ltd., 1882 Ltd.


1823 Ltd., 1829 Ltd., 1865 Ltd., 1911 Ltd.


1788 Ltd., 1790 Ltd., 1796 Ltd., 1797'98 Ltd., 1816 Ltd., 1836 Ltd., 1844 Ltd., 1852


1861, 1866 Ltd., 1885


No record of an applicable state census has been found.


1782 Ltd.

District of Columbia

1803, 1867, 1878


1825, 1855 Ltd., 1866 Ltd., 1867 Ltd., 1868 Ltd., 1875 Ltd., 1885, 1895, 1935 Ltd., 1945 Ltd.


1798 Ltd., 1800 Ltd., 1810 Ltd., 1827 Ltd., 1834 Ltd., 1838 Ltd., 1845 Ltd., 1852 Ltd., 1853 Ltd., 1859, 1865 Ltd., 1879 Ltd.


1878 Ltd., 1890, 1896 Ltd.


No record of an applicable state census has been found.


1810 Ltd., 1818 Ltd., 1820 Ltd., 1825 Ltd., 1830 Ltd., 1835 Ltd., 1840 Ltd., 1845 Ltd., 1855 Ltd., 1865 Ltd.


1807 Ltd., 1853 Ltd., 1857 Ltd., 1871 Ltd., 1877 Ltd., 1883 Ltd., 1889 Ltd., 1901 Ltd., 1913 Ltd., 1919 Ltd., 1931 Ltd.


1836 Ltd., 1838 Ltd., 1844 Ltd., 1846 Ltd., 1847 Ltd., 1849 Ltd., 1851 Ltd., 1852 Ltd., 1854 Ltd., 1856, 1885, 1895,1905, 1915, 1925


1855 Ltd., 1865, 1875, 1885, 1895, 1905. 1915, 1925


No record of an applicable state census is available.


1853 Ltd., 1858 Ltd.


1837 Ltd.


1776 Ltd., 1778 Ltd.


1855, 1865


1837 Ltd., 1845 Ltd., 1854, 1864, 1874, 1884, 1888 Ltd., 1894, 1904


1849 Ltd., 1853 Ltd., 1855 Ltd., 1857 Ltd., 1865 Ltd., 1875, 1885, 1895, 1905


1801 Ltd., 1805 Ltd., 1808 Ltd., 1810 Ltd., 1816 Ltd., 1818 Ltd., 1820 Ltd., 1822 Ltd., 1823 Ltd., 1824 Ltd., 1825 Ltd., 1830 Ltd., 1833 Ltd., 1837 Ltd., 1840 Ltd., 1841 Ltd., 1845 Ltd., 1850 Ltd., 1853 Ltd., 1860 Ltd., 1866 Ltd.


1797 Ltd., 1803 Ltd., 1817 Ltd., 1819 Ltd., 1840 Ltd., 1844 Ltd., 1852 Ltd., 1856 Ltd., 1860 Ltd., 1864 Ltd., 1876 Ltd., 1880 Ltd.


No record of an applicable state census is available.


1854 Ltd., 1855 Ltd., 1856 Ltd., 1865 Ltd., 1869 Ltd., 1885


1862'3 Ltd., 1875

New Hampshire

No record of an applicable state census has been found.

New Jersey

1855 Ltd., 1865 Ltd., 1875 Ltd., 1885, 1895, 1905, 1915

New Mexico

1790 Ltd., 1823 Ltd., 1845 Ltd., 1885 Ltd.

New York

1790 Ltd., 1825 Ltd., 1835, 1845, 1855, 1865, 1875, 1892, 1905, 1915, 1925

North Carolina

1786 Ltd.

North Dakota

1885 Ltd., 1915, 1925


No actual state censuses were taken, but there are lists of eligible voters called quadrennial enumerations.


1890 Ltd., 1907 Ltd.


1842 Ltd., 1843 Ltd., 1845 Ltd., 1849 Ltd., 1850 Ltd., 1853 Ltd., 1854 Ltd., 1855 Ltd., 1856 Ltd., 1857 Ltd., 1858 Ltd., 1859 Ltd., 1865 Ltd., 1870 Ltd., 1875, 1885 Ltd., 1895, 1905


No record of an applicable state census has been found.

Rhode Island

1774 Ltd., 1777 Ltd., 1782 Ltd., 1865, 1875, 1885, 1905, 1915, 1925, 1935

South Carolina

1825 Ltd., 1839 Ltd., 1869 Ltd., 1875 Ltd.

South Dakota

1885 Ltd., 1895 Ltd., 1905, 1915, 1925, 1935, 1945


1891 Ltd.




1852 Index to Bishops Report, 1856 Territorial Census


No record of an applicable state census has been found.


1782 Ltd., 1783 Ltd., 1784 Ltd., 1785 Ltd., 1786 Ltd.


1856 Ltd., 1857 Ltd., 1858 Ltd., 1860 Ltd., 1871 Ltd., 1874 Ltd., 1877 Ltd., 1878 Ltd., 1879 Ltd., 1880 Ltd., 1881 Ltd., 1883 Ltd., 1885 Ltd., 1887 Ltd., 1889 Ltd., 1891 Ltd., 1892 Ltd., 1898 Ltd.

West Virginia

No record of an applicable state census has been found.


1836, 1838 Ltd., 1842, 1846 Ltd., 1847 Ltd., 1855 Ltd., 1865 Ltd., 1875, 1885, 1895, 1905


1875 Ltd., 1878 Ltd.



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