United States Census, 1840 (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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United States Census, 1840
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
United States
United States flag.png
Flag of the United States of America
Flag of the United States (1848-1851).png
US Flag July 4, 1837 – July 3, 1845 (26 stars)
NARA seal300.jpg
Seal of the National Archives
Record Description
Record Type Census Population Schedules
Record Group RG 29: Records of the Bureau of the Census
Collection years 1840
Microfilm Publication M704. Sixth Census of the United States1840. 580 rolls.
Arrangement Alphabetical by state, by county, by city, township.
National Archives Identifier 2353564
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
National Archives and Records Administration


What is in This Collection?

The collection consists of an index and images to the population schedules listing the inhabitants of the United States taken June 1,1840. The schedules are from NARA microfilm publication M704 Sixth Census of the United States,1840 and is part of Record Group 29 Records of the Bureau of the Census. Included in this census are the names and ages of pensioners with Revolutionary War or other military service. Index provided by Ancestry.com.

Census of Pensioners

To Browse This Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for United States Census, 1840.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

The following information may be found in these records:

1840 Census

  • City, County and state in which census was taken
  • Name of head of household
  • Number of free white males and females under the age of 5
  • Number of free white males and females between the ages of 5-10
  • Number of free white males and females between the ages of 10-15
  • Number of free white males and females between the ages of 15-20
  • Number of free white males and females between the ages of 20-30
  • Number of free white males and females between the ages of 30-40
  • Number of free white males and females between the ages of 40-50
  • Number of free white males and females between the ages of 50-60
  • Number of free white males and females between the ages of 60-70
  • Number of free white males and females between the ages of 70-80
  • Number of free white males and females between the ages of 80-90
  • Number of free white males and females between the ages of 90-100
  • Number of free white males and females age 100 or older
  • Sometimes, the name and age of Revolutionary War pensioners

Collection Content

Sample Images

How Do I Search This Collection?

To begin your search it would be helpful to know:

  • The name of your ancestor
  • The approximate age of your ancestor
  • The state where your ancestor lived

Search the Index

Search by name by visiting the Collection Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes on the Collection Page with the information you have
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

View the Images

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page

  1. Select State
  2. Select County
  3. Select Township or other division to view the images

How Do I Analyze the Results?

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?

  • Use the age categories to determine an approximate birth date range
  • Use the residence to locate other records such as land, probate, tax, and church records
  • Continue to search the index and records to identify other relatives
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct
  • You may need to compare the information of more than one family or person to make this determination
  • Be aware that, as with any index, transcription errors may occur

I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for alias names, nicknames and abbreviated names
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby localities
  • Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals that may be your ancestor
  • There is also the possibility that a family was missed in the census
  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name
  • Even though these indexes are very accurate they may still contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned

Record Finder

Consult the United States Record Finder to search other records.

General Information About These Records

Federal census takers were asked to record information about every person who was in each household on the census day, which was the first June 1 for 1840. A census taker might have visited a house on a later date, but the information he collected was supposed to be about the people who were in the house on the census day. The basic census enumeration unit was the county. Each county was divided into enumeration districts, one for each enumerator. The completed forms were sent to the Commerce Department’s Census Office in Washington, D.C.

Federal censuses are usually reliable, depending on the knowledge of the informant and the care of the census enumerator. Information may have been given to a census taker by any member of the family or by a neighbor. Some information may have been incorrect or deliberately falsified.

Population schedules consisted of large sheets with rows and columns. The schedules were arranged by place, such as township or post office. The places were not filed in any particular order. The arrangement of families on a schedule is normally in the order in which the enumerator visited the households. The original schedules are well preserved at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. They were microfilmed in the 1950s and 1960s. The schedules for some counties in varying censuses are missing.

Known Issues With This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Citing This Collection

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation
"United States Census, 1840." Database with images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2016. Citing NARA microfilm publication M704. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

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