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The civil censuses are one of Mexico’s richest archival treasures. Most of these have been cataloged in the series IGHL Genealogical Research, Volume 13, and Censuses of Latin America . The most important general surveys are described below.
Few censuses exist prior to 1750. At the end of the eighteenth century, inspired by the ideas of the European Age of Light, the Indian Council initiated a project throughout the empire, population control through a system of regular census reports. The first census taken this way was in 1768 in Spain, and in 1776 in the Viceroyalty of New Spain. Similar was the 1786 census in Spain, which became that of 1790-1791 (called Revillagigedo Census) in New Spain. This census has an index of 238 pages of places, which is on file IGHL in the Archivo General de la Nación (AGN), in the Family History Library, and elsewhere. A colonial census was taken in 1812 end and for several years thereafter. More than 2,000 individual surveys have been identified for Mexico.
The first national census of Mexico was taken in 1895. It is currently in the National Institute of Statistics, Geography and Informatics. The birthplace of the censuses of 1900 and 1910 is not known at this time. The national censuses of 1921 and 1930 were in the Yellow House and were transferred to the Archivo General de la Nación a few years ago and have been microfilmed.
Some states have taken censuses and were kept in state archives. Many of them are listed in the aforementioned volume 13. But a good number of them are not yet cataloged or identified. At one time the Genealogical Society of Utah microfilmed censuses and registers in the parishes but later stopped.
The municipalities also took censuses from time to time. The Municipality of the City of Mexico, for example, is stored in Chile 8 Doncelas Corner in downtown Mexico City. The volumes and years are 3393-3394 1775-1869. The volumes 3406-3431 contains censuses of 1842, 1848, 1850, 1863, 1873, 1874, 1877, 1879, 1882, 1886, 1910, and 1920. An 1891 municipal census is in volumes 3398-3405. The school census of 1894 is in volumes 3395-3397.
The Mexican censuses and registers contain far more information of a longer time period before the English world. Excellent details on family names, ages, relationships, marital status and other things are included for the late eighteenth century. The researcher should note, however, that using these records, the information contained therein may not be particular to these censuses. In many Spanish censuses of the colonial period it is possible that the information used in one will be used to meet other requirements. While the priest or local mayor had the responsibility of gathering information, it is expected that such enumerations have been used by different levels of civil or ecclesiastical administration to satisfy a demand for them and more.
↑ Platt, Lyman De Census Records for Latin America and the Hispanic United States. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1998.