United States Census 1790

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Content[edit | edit source]

1790 Census was taken between 2 August 1790 and 1 May 1791. The following information, in addition to the name of the head of the household, was recorded by the census taker:

  • Free white males 16+
  • Free white males under 16
  • Free white females
  • Other free persons (including Indians who were taxed)
  • Slaves

Information on Federal census records 1790-2000 from the National Archives.

Value[edit | edit source]

The 1790 census can be used to:

  • Identify locality
  • Distinguish target family from others of same name
  • Identify neighbors
  • Identify slaveholders
  • Identify name variations

1790-1840 Search Tips from the National Archives.

Unique Features and Problems[edit | edit source]

First time a nation wide count was taken (population was 3,929,214)

  1. No printed form or paper provided
  2. The jurisdiction of the 13 original covered actually the area of 17 states.
  3. Age brackets very limited, especially for the females.
  4. Since the census went until 1792, some children may have been counted that were not actually born by August 1790
  5. Only number of slaves accounted for, not ages.
  6. Indians that were not taxed were not included.

States and Territories Covered[edit | edit source]


States Covered States Missing (most have substitutes)

Maine (part of Massachusetts)
New Hampshire
New York
North Carolina
Rhode Island
South Carolina

New Jersey
Tennessee (part of Southwest Territory)


(May have some type of substitute list or an area covering a county)

  • Northwest Territory
  • Southwest Territory

Missing Records[edit | edit source]

According to archives.org, No schedules are known to exist for Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Virginia; apparently they were destroyed during the British attack on Washington during the War of 1812.

Where to Find the Records[edit | edit source]

The 1790 Federal Census is available online.


Websites[edit | edit source]

1790-2000 Information. This 4-page brochure discusses the availability of federal census records and their contents.

1790-1840 census Search Tips

"Census of Population and Housing, 1790 Census." U.S. Census Bureau. www.census.gov : accessed 22 May 2009. Over a hundred years ago the Bureau of the Census published the entire 1790 census, listing the names of all the heads of households. Each state was published in a separate book. This web page contains PDF images for each of these books. While the books are searchable, not every name has been indexed correctly. New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maryland were published in 1907, followed in 1908 by Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Carolina. Since the census of Virginia for 1790 was lost when the federal district court clerks did not adequately maintain them, state enumerations made in 1782-5 were substituted, but are deemed incomplete. No substitute was provided for other states lost in the burning: Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, New Jersey, and Tennessee.

Detail from Heads of Families of the First Census

References[edit | edit source]

1. Szucs, Loretto Dennis and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking. The Source: A Guide book to American Genealogy. 3rd ed. (Provo, UT: Ancestry, 2006.)