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Censuses are population enumerations compiled by the government. The first national census was conducted in 1880 just after liberation from Ottoman rule. Additional censuses were conducted in 1884, 1887, 1892, 1900, 1905, 1910, 1920, 1926, 1934, 1946, 1956, 1965 and other more recent years.
Ottoman census records were enumerations of males compiled by the government for fiscal and military purposes, not as population counts. They lasted from 1831-1872. They contain the name of the head of household, male family members, ages, occupation, and property. These census records are located at the Oriental Department of the Cyril and Methodius National Library in Sofia. Some may be preserved among the archives of the Ottoman Empire in Istanbul. They have been made available to researchers. Ottoman censuses covered 40% of the population. These records can be used to quickly identify the male portion of family groups. Their value is somewhat limited because they are written in Ottoman Turkish (Turkish in Arabic script), which is archaic and difficult to read. Also, census returns are fragmentary. None of these records have been acquired by the Family History Library.
National censuses began in 1880 and continued to 1965 and later. 95% of the population is included in the census.
National censuses most likely list the head of household, social status, names of family members and their ages, family relationships, and their residence. Other details may vary.
Accessing the Records
The name lists for the national censuses from 1880-1892 have not been preserved. The disposition and condition of the census name lists for the 20th century is not known. The Family History Library does not have census records from Bulgaria.
Censuses are useful in quickly identifying family groups. They can uniquely identify individuals not found in church records or civil registration.
- Genealogical Library of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Outline for Genealogical Research in Bulgaria,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 1982.
- Wikipedia contributors, "Censuses of the population in Bulgaria" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at bg.wikipedia.org (accessed 4 June 2018).
- The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Bulgaria,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 1991-1998.