Census Records

Recording Sources For Families

Looking at a census record for the first time that shows your ancestors, perhaps your grandmother as a young girl, is an exhilarating experience. Did you know that the census record even shows the street address and name of where they lived? Take some time and Google search on Google Maps for the house, and see what you find.

In the United States, census records began in 1790 as a way to look at population census over time. These census have been repeated every 10 years since then. The US census records started listing the names of individuals in 1850, and by 1880 the relationships of the household as well. Census records are a great way to find additional family members. If you look at several pages before and after the census page showing your ancestors, you may find other families "down the street", as families often moved and stayed together.

Be sure to find each census record for the specific family you are researching. A "Census Tracking Form" will help you keep track of the information from each census you find. Here is an example of how you might use that form. You may find new children or other family members, like a grandparent, a sister-in-law, or others in the census record. A child may have died in the years before the next census. There is a lot of information to be found on a census record!

Additional Reading