California State Census, 1852 (FamilySearch Historical Records)
|This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.|
Access the records: California State Census, 1852 .
The collection consists of a name index of population schedules listing the inhabitants of the state of California in 1852.
The first federal census of California was taken in 1850. However, many of the residents had come to California because of the Gold Rush and were continually on the move. This made the accuracy of the 1850 census questionable. In addition, the records for the counties of Contra Costa, San Francisco, and Santa Clara were lost or destroyed. As a result, the State of California conducted its own census in 1852. This is the only state census for California.
The census was compiled to obtain an accurate count of the population of the state. Accuracy of the information in the census is determined by the accuracy of the knowledge of the informant, which could have been any member of the family or even a neighbor. As stated in Collection History, some information in this census was deliberately falsified.
Citation for This Collection
The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Records collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.
- California County Clerk. California State Census, 1852. California State Archives, Sacramento, California.
The biographical information found in this census is the following:
- Name of each person
- Place of birth
- Last Residence
- If a citizen
- Number of Whites by gender and if over 21
- Number of Negros by gender and if over 21
- Number of Mulattos by gender and if over 21
- Number of Domesticated Indians by gender and if over 21
- Number of Foreign Residents by gender and if over 21
How to Use the Record
Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor.
Begin your search by finding your ancestors in the census index. Use the locator information in the index (such as page number or family number) to locate your ancestors in the census. Compare the information in the census to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. 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.
When you have located your ancestor in the census, carefully evaluate each piece of information about them. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors.
- Use the age listed to determine an approximate birth date. This date along with the place of birth can help you find a birth record. Birth records often list biographical and marital details about the parents and close relatives other than the immediate family.
- Birthplaces can tell you former residences and can help to establish a migration pattern for the family.
- Use the race information to find records related to that ethnicity such as records of the Freedman’s Bureau or Indian censuses.
- Use the citizenship and last residence information to find their naturalization papers in the county court records. It can also help you locate immigration records such as a passenger list, which would usually be kept with records at the port of entry into the United States.
- Occupations listed can lead you to employment records or other types of records such as school records; children’s occupations are often listed as “at school.”
- It is often helpful to extract the information on all families with the same surname in the same general area. If the surname is uncommon, it is likely that those living in the same area were related.
- Be sure to extract all families before you look at other records. The relationships given will help you to organize family groups. The family groupings will help you identify related families when you discover additional information in other records.
Some other helpful tips to keep in mind are:
- Married family members may have lived nearby but in a separate household, so you may want to search an entire town, neighboring towns, or even a county.
- You may be able to identify an earlier generation if elderly parents were living with or close by a married child.
- You may be able to identify a younger generation if a young married couple still lived with one of their sets of parents.
- Additional searches may be needed to locate all members of a particular family in the census.
- You should also be aware that the census may identify persons for whom other records do not exist.
For a summary of this information see the wiki article: United States, How to Use the Records Summary (FamilySearch Historical Records).
Related Wiki Articles
Contributions to This Article
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Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.
A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.
Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection
"California, State Census 1852," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org: accessed 2 November 2011), Frank Jessen, 1852; citing Census Records, FHL microfilm 909,232; California State Archives, Sacramento, California, United States-->