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to Journey to the Past, I'm Brenda (Glover) Leyndyke and I believe researching your family history is a fascinating journey.

Tuesday's Tip: Maybe What You Are Looking For Didn't Survived

25 February 2014

Genealogists have been known to search for hours for that one piece of elusive information about their ancestor.  Census records are often the first records we look for when researching our family.  Before you spend hours looking for an ancestor in the United States Census, you want to make sure what you are looking for survived.  We all know about the loss of the 1890 Census, but did you know about other census losses?

1790 U.S. Federal Census

  • About one third of this census was lost.
  • Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, New Jersey and Virginia were burned during the War of 1812.
1800 U.S. Federal Census
  • Georgia, Indiana Territory, Kentucky, Mississippi Territory, New Jersey, Northwest Territory, Virginia, Tennessee, and Alexandria County, District of Columbia have suffered losses.
1810 U.S. Federal Census
  • District of Columbia, Georgia, Indiana Territory, Mississippi Territory, Louisiana Territory, New Jersey and Tennessee suffered losses.
  • St. Clair County, Illinois and Ohio (all counties except Washington County)
1820 U.S. Federal Census
  • Arkansas Territory, Missouri Territory, and New Jersey suffered district wide loss.
  • Alabama (half of the counties) and Tennessee (about 20 eastern counties) were lost.
1830 U.S. Federal Census
  • The following counties suffered losses:
    • Wabash, Indiana
    • Montgomery, Prince George's, St. Mary's, Queen Anne's and Somerset, Maryland
    • Clarendon District, South Carolina
1840 U.S. Federal Census
  • Losses include Pike county, Mississippi and Clarendon District, South Carolina
1850 U.S. Federal Census
  • Losses include the counties of Contra Costa, San Francisco, and Santa Clara-all in California.
1860 U.S. Federal Census
  • Losses occurred in the following counties:
    • Arkansas - Indian Lands, Little River
    • Florida - Hernando
    • Louisiana - Bienville Parish 
    • Mississippi - Hancock, Sunflower, Washington
    • Texas - Blanco, Coleman, Concho, Dubal, Edwards, Hardeman, Kimble, Knox, LaSalle, McCullock, McMullen, Tarrant, Taylor, Wichita, Wilbarger, and Wilson 
    • Washington - Benton, Columbia, San Juan, Snonomish, and Stevens
1870 U.S. Federal Census
  • Losses occurred in the following counties:
    • Idaho - Kootenai
    • Texas - Archer, Baylor, Concho, Edwards, Hardeman, Knox, Taylor, Wichita and Willbarger
    • Washington - Benton, Columbia and San Juan
    • Kansas - Arapahoe
1880 U.S. Federal Census
  • No substantial losses
  • The Indian Territory, which is Oklahoma now, did not enumerate non Native Americans.
1890 U.S. Federal Census
  • Major losses, less than one percent of the schedules survived.
  • No complete state, county or community schedules survived.
  • A few fragments can be found.  A list of what survived can be found at Family Search.

1900 U.S. Federal Census

  • No losses
1910 U.S. Federal Census
  • No losses
1920 U. S. Federal Census
  • No losses
1930 U.S. Federal Census
  • No losses
1940 U.S. Federal Census
  • No losses
Don't despair if you are looking for census records in lost counties.  Substitutes can be found through tax lists, state census records, and other Census schedules.  

For more information on the United States Census, check these resources:

Digging Deeper-Using Essential Pre-1850 Records by Karen A. Clifford
Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Census 1790-1920 by William Thorndale and William Dollarhide
The Source-Edited by Loretto Dennis Szucs and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking
Family Search Wiki:  Missing and Lost Census-pages for each state




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