United States Census 1850

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
United States Census Bureau Logo.jpg
Flag of the United States (1848-1851).png

Indexes and Images[edit | edit source]

For an article about 1850 census population schedules available for free online at FamilySearch Historical Record Collections see the U.S. Census Population Schedules, 1850 Wiki page. Ancestry.com (subscription site) has indexes and images of all 1850 federal censuses. HeritageQuestOnline.com (subscription site) has indexes and images of all 1850 federal censuses.

Also, there are articles about the 1850 mortality schedule indexes, and 1850 slave owner schedule indexes free online as part of FamilySearch Record Search. Ancestry.com has those mortality and slave owner indexes and images online for a subscription fee.

A free Internet index and images to the 1850 United States Census can be viewed on the FamilySearch Record Search. This index includes every name listed on the census and is linked to an image including information about each person’s residence and age in 1850, birthplace, occupation, other family members, and neighbors.

For more details, see individual state census Wiki pages. For tips if the first census index search does not work, see the United States Census Searching Wiki page.

Contents[edit | edit source]

The 1850 Census was taken beginning 1 June 1850, for five months. The following information was recorded by the census taker:

Population Schedules

  • Name
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Color
  • Occupation males over 15
  • Value of real estate

  • Birthplace—territory of country of birth
  • Attended school or married in the year?
  • If over 20—could read/write?
  • Deaf-mute, blind, insane, or idiotic?
  • Fugitive from state?

Slave Schedules

  • Name of slave owner
  • Number of slaves owned
  • Number of slaves manumitted (released from slavery)

  • Age, color, sex
  • Deaf-mute, blind, insane, idiotic?
  • Fugitive from state?

1790-2000 Info: http://www.census.gov/prod/2000pubs/cff-2.pdf

Value[edit | edit source]

The 1850 census can be used to:

  • Find free population/slave pop. & mortality, agriculture, industry data
  • Identify families by name
  • Identify birthplaces which helps w/immigration
  • Identify ages —go to vital records
  • Identify Real estate—land and tax records
  • Identify probable relationships—be careful!
  • Identify occupations/property value
  • Identify possible remarriages/step relationships

1850-1930 Search Tips: http://www.archives.gov/research/census/1850-1930.html

Unique Features and Problems[edit | edit source]

  1. Census takers were given more instructions and guidelines in print
  2. First census to list names of all in the household
  3. First to list ages, sex, color, & place of birth
  4. Census taken in order of visitation
  5. Listed those married within the year
  6. Listed those who died after 1 June
  7. Dwelling house number
  8. Real estate value
  9. Occupation of males over 16
  10. Whether a fugitive of the state
  11. Though it still did not list slave names, it listed more information about the slaves
  12. Listed heath or lifestyle issues: “Deaf, dumb, blind, insane, idiotic, pauper or convict”
  13. Omitted children born after 1 June (even if the census taker took it later)
  14. Indians that lived on reservations or unsettles tracts of land were not included.
  15. Make count by personal inquiry at every dwelling
  16. Enumerator to make 2 additional copies:
    1. Clerk of county court
    2. Secretary of state/territory
  17. No Indians in reservations or unsettled land

States and Territories Covered[edit | edit source]


  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia

  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts

  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Mississippi
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio

  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • Virginia (inc. West Virginia)
  • Wisconsin


  • Minnesota (inc. Dakotas)
  • New Mexico (inc. Arizona)
  • Oregon (inc. Washington & Idaho)
  • Utah

Missing Records[edit | edit source]

  • No States Missing

Where to Find the Records[edit | edit source]

The 1850 Federal Census is available online.


For the 1850 slave schedules see U.S. Census Slave Schedules.

Websites[edit | edit source]

1790-2000 Info: http://www.census.gov/prod/2000pubs/cff-2.pdf

1850-1930 Search Tips: http://www.archives.gov/research/census/1850-1930.html

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.)