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Guide to Census Records

 

The first U.S. population census was taken in 1790 and has been taken every tenth year since. Not every census is still in existence. The 1790, 1800, and 1890 federal census schedules for Virginia no longer exist. The 1890 population schedules for all states were almost completely destroyed in a 1921 fire. Our staff does not search or photocopy the federal census population schedules.

Federal population censuses are confidential for 72 years. The 1940 U.S. Federal Census for Virginia is the most recent available for public use.

Library of Virginia copies of Virginia census microfilm are available through the Interlibrary Loan program of your local library.

Indexes in book form through 1870 and on Soundex microfilm for 1880, 1900-1920 are available in the West reading room. More specialized indexes and abstracts can be located by searching our Online Catalog

U.S. CENSUS RECORDS IN THE LIBRARY OF VIRGINIA

State Year Range

Alabama

1830-1880,1890,1900

Arkansas

1830-1880, 1900

Delaware

1800-1880, 1900

District of Columbia

1800, 1820-1880, 1900-1920

Florida

1830-1880, 1900

Georgia

1820-1880, 1900

Illinois

1820-1880, 1900

Indiana

1820-1880, 1900

Kentucky

1810-1880, 1900-1920

Louisiana

1810-1880, 1900

Maryland

1790-1880, 1900-1920

Mississippi

1820-1880, 1900

Missouri

1830-1880, 1900

North Carolina

1790-1880, 1900-1920

Ohio

1820-1880, 1900

Pennsylvania

1790-1880, 1900

South Carolina

1790-1880, 1900

Tennessee

1810-1880, 1900-1920

Texas

1850-1880, 1900

Virginia

1810-1880, 1900-1940

West Virginia

1870-1880,1900-1920

Suggested Resources

  • Ann B.Hamilton,  Researcher's Guide to United States Census Availability, 1790-1920 (Bowie, MD, 1992).
    Most valuable for the tables of each state that indicates by county and census year whether a census or an index exists.
  • Richard H. Saldana, ed., A Practical Guide to the "Misteaks" Made in Census Indexes (Bountiful, UT, 1987).
    Provides explanations and examples of a variety of errors present in census indexes. Suggests strategies for working around these mistakes.
  • Loretto Dennis Szucs and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking, eds., The Source : A Guidebook of American Genealogy (Salt Lake City, 1997).
    Chapter Five, Research in Census Records, includes research strategies and important details about each census.
  • William Thorndale and William Dollarhide, Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920 (Baltimore, 1987).
    Maps for each state show county outline maps at ten year intervals starting with 1790 and ending with 1920.
  • National Archives and Records Administration, United States, Guide to Genealogical Research in the National Archives (Washington, D.C., 1985).
    Chapter One, Census Records, provides in depth details on the Federal Census. Information includes National Archives microfilm numbers, explanation of each year's census and problems specific to certain states and years.