The federal census was taken every ten years beginning in 1790. The most recent federal census available to the public for searching
is the 1930. You will find the following information on the federal census:
1800-1810: page number; number of free white males and females (by age);
number of all other free persons except Indians and slaves.
1820: page number; residence; number of males and females (by age); number
of foreigners not naturalized; number of persons in agriculture, commerce and
manufacturing; number of male and female slaves (by age); number of free
colored persons (by age)
1830-1840: page number; head of household; number of free white males and females
(by age); employment/pensioners; impairment/schools
1850: page number; dwelling and family number; name; age; gender; color; occupation;
value of real estate; birthplace; married within the year; attended school within the
year; literacy; remarks
1860: page number; dwelling and family number; name; age; gender; color; occupation;
value of real estate; value of personal property; birthplace; married within the year;
attended school within the year; literacy; remarks
1870: page number; dwelling and family number; name; age; gender; color; occupation;
value of real estate; value of personal property; birthplace; are father and mother foreign
born; month born in year; month married in year; attended school within the year; can read;
1880: page number; dwelling and family number; name; color; sex; age; month of birth if born in
census year; relationship to head of household; marital status; married in census year; occupation;
miscellaneous; can read; can write; birthplace; birthplace of father and mother
1900: enumeration district; house number; sheet number; line number; name; relationship to head of
household; color; sex; month and year of birth; age; marital status; number of years married; mother
of how many children; number of these children living; birthplace; birthplace of father and mother;
year of immigration; number of years in the US; whether naturalized; occupation; remarks
1910: street name; house number; dwelling number; family number; name; relationship to head of
household; sex; color; age at last birthday; marital status; number of years married; number of
children born to mother; number of these children living; birthplace; birthplace of parents; year of
immigration; citizenship status; language spoken; trade or profession; industry; employer/employee;
unemployed within month; number of months unemployed in last twelve months; literacy; school attendance;
whether home owned or rented
1920: street name; house number; dwelling number; family number; name; relationship to head of household;
whether home owned or rented; if owned, mortgage free; sex; color; age at last birthday; marital status;
year of immigration; citizenship status; year of naturalization; attended school in last twelve months; can
read; can write; place of birth; native tongue; birthplace of parents; parents' native tongue; ability to
speak English; trade or occupation; industry; salaried or working class; whether home is on a farm
1930: address; name; relationship to head of household; whether home owned or rented; value of home or
monthly rental fee; whether radio set owned; whether home is on a farm; sex; race; age; marital status and
age at first marriage; school attendance; literacy; birthplace; birthplace of parents; language spoken if
foreign born; year of immigration; citizenship status; ability to speak English; occupation; whether at work
previous day; veteran status; if Indian - whether full or mixed blood and tribal affiliation.
Facts on the Census:
The 1790 Census was typeset, indexed and printed in state volumes around 1906
There were two censuses taken in New York in 1870.
The second enumeration was in December. This second enumeration is not indexed, but does include
Most of the 1890 census was destroyed by fire. Some schedules do remain, but they do not pertain to the New York City area. However,
the 1890 schedule for Union Veterans has survived.
Mortality schedules list individuals who died within the twelve
month period prior to the date of the census. The schedules list
date and cause of death, as well as other information consistent with
the regular census schedules. Mortality schedules exist for the 1850-1880
time period. They can be found at the National
Archives (NARA) on microfilm, and at the New York State Archives (SARA) in print form.
Statewide indexes for the 1790-1850 censuses are available in book form
or on microfiche from the LDS. The 1860-1870
index for Long Island (which includes Brooklyn) is in book form. The 1880 census was originally indexed only
for households with children under the age of 10. However, the current CD version of this census available from the LDS is indexed for all households.
The 1910 New York State Census is not indexed. You must ascertain the ward and enumeration district from the address of your ancestor in the 1910 directory.
While the 1930 census is indexed for 10 states, New York State is not one of them! You will need to consult the 1930 city directory for your ancestor's address.
NARA will have the directory available at the main facility and all branch locations.
The 1880, 1900 and 1920 censuses are indexed according to a method called Soundexing.
Soundex is a system of indexing surnames together by how they sound instead of how they are spelled. Therefore, surnames that sound the same but are spelled differently, will
be indexed together. (ie: Smith and
Smyth) The Soundex Code consists of four digits: a letter followed by three numbers. The letter that begins the code is always the letter that begins the surname.
The numbers are assigned to the remaining letters according to the guide.
Below are the steps to soundex code your surname. It is advised that you try it yourself to get the hang of the system.
Following the steps will be a link to have your surname automatically soundex coded. This way you can see how you've done.
1. Write out your surname.
2. Write the first letter of your surname on a second line. This letter will begin your four digit soundex code.
3. Strike out the following letters from your surname: A, E, I, O, U, W, Y and H.
4. On the second line (where you've placed the first letter of your surname), write the numbers found in the Soundex Coding Guide for the remaining letters.
When you reach a four digit code - the
beginning letter followed by 3 numbers - STOP coding. Remember, a soundex code is only four digits long. If you run out of letters in your surname before you
reach a four digit code, simply add zero(s).
Soundex Coding Guide
1 = B, P, F, V
2 = C, S, K, G, J, Q, X, Z
3 = D, T
4 = L
5 = M, N
6 = R
Exceptions in Coding
Names with prefixes: If your surname begins with a prefix (Van, De, Le, etc) code the surname with and without the
prefix. The surname could be found under either soundex code. NOTE: Mac and Mc are not considered prefixes.
Names with double letters: If your surname has double letters side by side, (Walls, Lloyd) code only one of the letters.
Names with same number side by side: If your surname contains two letters side by side that have the same number from the above Soundex Coding Guide (Jackson 2=C and K) then code only one of the letters.
Click to have your surname automatically soundex coded.
Where to Find Census Records
The LDS has all original county copies of the federal
censuses (and mortality schedules) with accompanying indexes. The county copies can also be found at the county courthouses. The courthouses will not photocopy the schedules for you, they will merely transcribe them.
You will need to contact the courthouse for the current fees and request submission procedure.
Transcribed federal copies of the census and mortality schedules can be found at the National Archives and
its regional branches; the New York Public Library; Cornell University (has only
1790-1850), the New York State Library and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City. The New York State Archives
has the mortality schedules. The Queens Public Library has the 1800-1870 census indexes, 1880 & 1900 soundex and the 1910-1920 enumeration district maps.
Many public libraries within New York State have the censuses. If you are not within New York State, you may be able to acquire these microfilms through interlibrary loan.
Check with your local public library.
Where to Purchase Census Records
New York Census, 1790-1890
1920 US Federal Census: New York, Manhattan Standard Edition
The National Archives is accepting orders for "whole state" or "whole country" 1930 census
schedules (Record Group: T626).
You can also purchase other census microfilms from the National Archives. For details including ordering information, please contact:
Product Sales Section (NWPS)
Washington, DC 20408 1-800-234-8861
The American Genealogical Lending Library
P.O. Box 329
Bountiful, UT 84011-0329
Census Microfilms is also offering the 1930 census.
Heritage Quest has all federal cenuses for sale. Indexes are sold separately.
The LDS offers the 1880 federal census with index.
Where to Rent Census Records
The National Archives offers the Microfilm Rental Program. You can find information on this program on their website or by writing to:
P.O. Box 30
Anapolis Junction, Maryland 20701-0030 301-604-3699.
The American Genealogical Lending Library
P.O. Box 329
Bountiful, UT 84011-0329 1-800-760-AGLL.
Censuses in the colonial period were taken approximately every ten years, starting in 1690. Sadly, most were destroyed by fire, except the 1698 which remains in tact. Available from the LDS:
Stemmons, John D. The United States Census Compendium. Logan, Utah: Everton Publishers, 1973.
FHL book # 1973 X2st.
NOTE: The LDS recommends the above book to locate existing colonial censuses, militia lists, freeholders and oaths of allegiance.
O'Callaghan, Edmund B. Lists of Inhabitants of Colonial New York Excerpted from the Documentary History of the State of New York by Edmund Bailey O'Callaghan. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing
Co., 1979. FHL book # 974.7 D41 and microfiche # 6046723.
NOTE: The above book includes the inhabitants of various localities from 1657-1799.
Rootsweb's Brooklyn Information Page contains a wealth of federal census
transcriptions and ward information. Be prepared to spend a lot of time at this site!
If you've ever been stumped by occupations listed
on the census, you could try this website. While the occupations listed are
those that most frequently appear on the UK censuses, you will
find that some are just as relevant on this side of the Atlantic.
Rootdig's online article,
From Index to Image, will walk you through the confusing process of
converting census page numbers to Ancestry.com's image numbers.
Problems converting the information on the new 1910 Heritage Quest census cd to Ancestry.com? This free downloadable
shareware boasts that it will produce the Ancestry images
from the census cd. You must have an Ancestry.com subscription.
Ward & District Help
Obtaining EDs for the 1930 Census in One Step is the perfect
way to help locate the Enumeration District you need.
Just enter the city and state you are interested in, and the search
engine will return the microfilm roll that contains the listing of EDs for that area.
Remember, you will need to have your ancestor's home address in 1930 to adequately pinpoint the correct ED.
The 1870 federal census index for New Utrecht,Brooklyn, is online. The submitter will provide more information
on the entries upon email request.
The Irish-New-York-City website has the full 1850 transcription of the New York City
Prison, the Tombs online, totaling 934 names. There are also
random transcriptions from the 1860 census for the Old Fourth Ward,
totaling 240 names.
The Illinois Genealogical Society has the transcriptions of the 1880 census for the
House of Reception and the
New York Juvenile Asylum, of New York City.
USGenWeb has the following transcriptions:
1790 - Brooklyn, Bushwick, Flatbush, Flatlands, Gravesend & New Utrecht
1810 - Kings County
1790 - Flushing
1800 - Queens (partial)
1910 - Kings County, ED 239 (partial)
1910 - Kings County, ED 297 (partial)
Free Census Lookups
Free Genealogy Lookups offers free searches of New York State
Censuses, including: federal 1790-1870, Mortality Schedules' Index 1850-1880 and the pre-1790 Colonial America
Census Index. Please be sure to read the guidelines before submitting a request.
The LDS brings us the 1880
federal census, searchable online. The search setup will be familiar to those who have searched the IGI.
AncestralFindings.com - Free Genealogy Research -
A mega genealogy database allowing you to look someone up by: birth records, land records, state records, death records, census records,
military records, marriage records, family trees , passenger/immigration records, and more!
Census Databases - Paid