A Research Guide to the 1900 United States Census

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The United States began conducting federal population censuses in 1790. The 1900 U.S. census was the 12th federal census, and it included two population schedules—the General Population Schedule and the Indian Population Schedule. This census also included a question that no other census had. Do you know what question that was?

Enter a name below to search for your ancestors in the 1900 United States census.


What Was the Unique Question Added to the 1900 Census?

Never before had a United States census asked for the birth month and year of every individual in the family. This question became a life saver after the loss of the 1890 census. The 1900 census can be used as an alternative birth record, though it is not the best option.

Special Reports Conducted during the Census

Boy with a hoop

As mentioned above, the 1900 census included two population schedules. The general population schedule, or census, was for people living in the United States, military personnel in the United States or abroad, and—for the first time—Hawaiian citizens.

The second population schedule was titled the “Special Inquiries Relating to Indians” but is most commonly known as the Indian Population Schedule. The Indian Population Schedule asked the same questions as were asked for the general population schedule, but the bottom of the census page had additional questions that included the following:

  • Other Name, if any
  • Tribe of this Indian
  • Tribe of Father of this Indian
  • Tribe of Mother of this Indian
  • Has this Indian any white blood; if so, how much?
  • Is this Indian, if married, living in polygamy?
  • Is this Indian taxed?
  • Year of acquiring citizenship
  • Was citizenship acquired by allotment?
  • Is this Indian living in a fixed or in a movable dwelling?

The census takers were instructed to enumerate Indians living on and off of reservations.
Congress also allowed for authorized special census agents to collect information on persons with deafness, blindness, insanity, and even juvenile delinquency.

More Helpful Questions on the 1900 Census

The 1900 census included other unique and helpful questions that will benefit your family history research. In the far left column, the census enumerator was to record what street or road the families lived on. In the second column, they recorded the house number. You can use that information to learn more about your ancestors’ neighbors and community and maybe even to find the house on Google Earth!

Question 10 asked, “How many years has the person been married?” The answer in this column can give you a calculated marriage year.

1900s baby in a stroller

Question 11 asked, “For mothers, how many children has the person had?” and question 12 asked, “How many of those children are living?” The answers to these two questions can lead you to unknown children who may have died or married, give a hint about whether the children in the home were the mother’s stepchildren, or whether an adoption had taken place.

Question 16 asked, “What year did the person immigrate to the United States?” Question 18 asked, “Is the person naturalized?” The answers to these questions can help you locate a passenger list, a border crossing record, or naturalization papers

Life in the 1900s

Gain a greater appreciation for your ancestors and the nation by learning more about their lives in the 1900s.

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