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Government Documents and Microforms

Census Subject Guide

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Census Dates and Information Recorded in each Census, 1790-1930

Jump to descriptions of: 1790 | 1800 | 1810 | 1820 | 1830 | 1840 | 1850 | 1860 | 1870 | 1880 | 1890 | 1900 | 1910 | 1920 | 1930

The Constitution of the United States requires that a census be conducted at least every 10 years for proper apportioning of taxes for Congressional Representatives. The 1790 census exceeded its Constitutional mandate to simply count the state's populations, setting the precedent of naming heads of households and categorizing persons by age and gender.

Each states' decennial schedules from 1790-1930 have been preserved on microfilm. ( LSU Libraries' Collection, housed in the basement of Middleton Library in Government Documents, only extends to 1900 for Louisiana, and is unfortunately not complete). From 1790 to 1840, only heads of households were listed by name on the census forms. When using a census that names only the head of households, search for other records (such as marriage indexes), with that name to find other household members not listed in the census.

The census on microfilm LSU owns is limited. The only states in this collection include: Alabama, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia (and scattered census material for West Virginia). Information on other states may be located at the National Archives in Washington D.C., the regional branches of the National Archives, as well as the Bluebonnet Regional Branch of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library.

The collection of census material at LSU Middleton Library includes population schedules, agricultural census data, lists of manufactures, slave schedules, passenger lists for the port of New Orleans covering 1853-1899, social statistics, and scattered information concerning Defective, Dependent and Delinquent Classes. Other material that may be helpful for researching archives for genealogy information include Records of the Diocese of Louisiana and the "Floridas", New Orleans City Directories for years 1805-1945, New Orleans Christian Advocate concerning Marriage and Death Notices, Military Academy Letters, and Indian Affairs, just to name a few.

The microfilm collection at LSU Middleton library located in Government Documents, includes an extensive selection of local and national newspapers. A list of those newspapers with their corresponding microfilm numbers and range of dates can be obtained at the front desk in Government Documents, Room 53.

FIRST CENSUS : 1790

Reflects living standards on the 1st Monday, August, 1790.
Information recorded includes:

  • Name of head of family/household
  • Number of free white males aged 16 and over, including head of family
  • Number of free white males under the age 16
  • Number of free white females including head of family
  • Number of all other "free" persons
  • Number of slaves
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SECOND CENSUS : 1800

Reflects living standards on the 1st Monday, August, 1800.
Information recorded includes:

  • Name of head of family/household
  • Number of free white males and females in the following age brackets: under 10, 10-15, 16-25, 26-45, and over 45
  • Number of all other free persons
  • Number of slaves

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THIRD CENSUS : 1810

Reflects living standards on the 1st Monday, August, 1810.
Information recorded includes:

  • Name of head of family/household
  • Number of free white males and females in the following age brackets: under 10, 10-15, 16-25, 26-45, and over 45 including head of house
  • Number of all other free persons
  • Number of slaves

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FOURTH CENSUS : 1820

Reflects living standards for the 1st Monday, August 1820.
Information recorded includes:

  • Name of head of household
  • Number of free white male and female in the following age brackets: under 10, 10-15, 16-25, 26-45, over 45 including head of household
  • Number of male and female slaves and free "colored" in these age brackets: under 14, 14-25, 26-45, and over 45

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FIFTH CENSUS : 1830

Reflects living standards on June 1, 1830 "Census Day"
Information recorded includes:

  • Name of head of household
  • Number of free white male and females in the following age brackets: under 5, 5-9, 10-14, 15-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70-79, 80-89, 90-99, and over 100
  • Number of male and female slaves and free Blacks in these age brackets: under 10, 10-23, 24-35, 36-45, 55-100, and over 100
  • Number of white "deaf and dumb" persons under 14, 14-24, 25 and over
  • Number of white persons who are blind
  • Number of alien foreigners not naturalized

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SIXTH CENSUS : 1840

Reflects living standards on June 1, 1840 "Census Day"
Information recorded includes:

  • Name of county, city, ward, township, parish or precinct
  • Name of head of household
  • Number of free white male and female, same age brackets for 1830
  • Number of male and female slaves, same age brackets for 1830
  • Occupations of employed family members
  • Number of persons in school
  • Number of persons over 21 who cannot read nor write
  • Number of persons who are "insane"
  • Name and age of Revolutionary War Pensions

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SEVENTH CENSUS : 1850

Reflects living standards on June 1, 1850 "Census Day"
Information recorded includes:

  • Name of village, town, city, township or district
  • County or parish
  • State
  • Name of enumerator (person taking the census)
  • Dwelling or house number (this is not an address as we know it)
  • Family Number (Note: dwelling & family number's differ because a dwelling may house multiple families)
  • Name of every person in household on "Census Day"
  • Age, Sex, Color
  • Profession, occupation or trade of each male over age 15
  • Value of real estate
  • Place of birth
  • Married within the year
  • Attended school within the year
  • Persons over 20 who could not read or write
  • Whether person was deaf & dumb, blind, insane, idiotic, a pauper, or a convict

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EIGHTH CENSUS : 1860

Reflects living standards on June 1, 1860 "Census Day"
Information recorded includes:

  • Same information as included in 1850 census
  • With that addition of the value of personal estate

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NINTH CENSUS : 1870

Reflects living standards on June 1, 1870 "Census Day"
Information recorded includes:

  • Name of every person living in household on "Census Day"
  • Age at last birthday
  • Place of birth
  • Sex
  • Color
  • Profession, Occupation, or trade of every person in household
  • Value of real estate
  • Name of father and mother of foreign birth
  • Name of male citizens of U.S. aged 21 and over
  • Name of male citizens of U.S. aged 21 and over who denied the vote
  • Whether attended school within the year
  • Whether persons in the household could not read or write
  • Whether persons were deaf & dumb, blind, insane, or idiotic
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TENTH CENSUS : 1880

Reflects living standards on June 1, 1880 "Census Day"
Information recorded includes:

  • Name of every person living in household on "Census Day"
  • Age, Sex, and Color
  • Relationship of the person to the head of the household
  • Single, Married, Widowed, or Divorced
  • Whether married within census year
  • Profession, Occupation, or trade of every person living in household
  • Whether sick or temporarily disabled; if so, name of sickness/disability
  • Whether blind, deaf & dumb, idiotic, insane, maimed, crippled, bedridden
  • Whether can read and write
  • Place of birth
  • Father's and Mother's Place of birth
Note Concerning the 10th Census: Beginning with this census taken in 1880, many families enumerated were indexed using the SOUNDEX SYSTEM. A census "Soundex" is a phonetic index in which last names are grouped by how they sound rather than how they are spelled. The 1880 census Soundex only includes families with children aged 10 years or younger. Families without children in that age group do not appear in the Soundex, but are listed in the actual census forms.

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ELEVENTH CENSUS : 1890

Reflects living standards on June 1, 1890 "Census Day"
Note:Almost all the records for this census were destroyed by a fire in 1921

  • Only fragments remain for these states: AL, DC, GA, IL, MN, NJ, NY, NC, OH, SD, and TX
  • They have been microfilmed as National Archive Microfilm Publication M407
  • There are approximately 6,160 names indexed on the surviving 1890 population schedules
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TWELFTH CENSUS : 1900

Reflects living standards on June 1, 1900 "Census Day"
This census is complete, none of it was destroyed.
Information recorded includes:

  • Name of every person living in household on "Census Day"
  • Relationship of each person to the head of household
  • Sex, Color or race
  • Date of birth
  • Age at last birthday
  • Single, Married, Widowed, or Divorced
  • Number of years married
  • Number of children per mother and how many of those still living
  • Whether attended school during year
  • Whether owned or rented, if owned: whether owned free or mortgaged
  • Whether property is farm or house and number of farm schedule
  • Place of birth
  • Father's and Mother's place of birth
  • Year arrived in U.S. and number of years in the U.S.
  • Naturalization Status
  • Occupation and number of months un-employed
Note:The 1900 Census was indexed completely using the Soundex System.

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THIRTEENTH CENSUS : 1910

Reflects living standards on April 15, 1910 "Census Day"
Information recorded includes:

  • Name of every person living in household on "Census Day"
  • Relationship of each person to the head of the family
  • Age at last birthday
  • Sex and color or race
  • Whether single, married, widowed, or divorced
  • Number of years married
  • Mother of how many children and how many of those children still living
  • Whether attended daytime school since September 1, 1909
  • Whether can read or write
  • Whether own or rent home, and if owned, whether owned free or mortgaged
  • Whether property is farm or house, and number of farm schedule
  • Place of birth, and father's and mother's place of birth
  • Year arrived in the United States, and number of years in the United States
  • Naturalization status
  • Language spoken
  • Occupation and in which type of industry employed
  • If employer, employee, or self-employed
  • If unemployed, number of weeks not employed in 1909
  • Survivor of Union or Confederate army or navy
  • Whether blind in both eyes, or deaf and dumb
  • The forms used to survey Indians also recorded the tribe and/or band.
Note:The 1910 Census for Louisiana was indexed using the Soundex System.

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FOURTEENTH CENSUS : 1920

Reflects living standards on January 1, 1920 "Census Day"
Information recorded includes:

  • Name of every person living in household on "Census Day"
  • Relationship of each person to the head of the family
  • Age at last birthday
  • Sex and color or race
  • Whether single, married, widowed, or divorced
  • Whether own or rent home, and if owned, whether owned free or mortgaged
  • Year of immigration to the United States
  • Whether naturalized or alien
  • Whether attended school at anytime since September 1, 1919
  • Place of birth and mother tongue
  • Father's place of birth and mother tongue
  • Mother's place of birth and mother tongue
  • Whether able to speak English
  • Trade, profession, or particular kind of work done
  • Industry, business, or establishment in which at work
  • Whether employer, slary or wage worker; or working on own account
  • Number of farm schedule
Note:The 1920 Census was indexed using the Soundex System.

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FIFTEENTH CENSUS : 1930

Reflects living standards on April 1, 1930 "Census Day"
Information recorded includes:

  • Address
  • Name of every person living in household on "Census Day"
  • Relationship of the person to the head of the household
  • Home owned or rented; value or monthly rental
  • Radioset
  • Whether on a farm
  • Sex, race, and age
  • Marital status
  • Age at first marriage
  • Attended school or college any time since Sept. 1, 1929
  • Whether able to read or write
  • Birthplace of person and parents
  • If foreign born, language spoken in home before coming to the United States, year of immigration, whether naturalized, and ability to speak English
  • Occupation, industry and class of worker
  • Whether at work previous day (or last regular working day)
  • Veteran status
  • Whether sick or temporarily disabled; if so, name of sickness/disability
  • Whether blind, deaf and dumb, idiotic, insane, maimed, crippled, bedridden
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