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Iowa State Census, 1885 - FamilySearch Historical Records

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.
Access the records: Iowa, State Census, 1885 .
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Record Description[edit | edit source]

The collection consists of an index of the Iowa state census taken in 1885. The population schedule names every person in the household.

Citation for this Collection[edit | edit source]

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.

"Iowa State Census, 1885." Index. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing Secretary of State. Historical Society, Des Moines.

Record Content[edit | edit source]

The 1885 census contains the following biographical information:

  • Name of every person who resided in the family
  • Address
  • Age at birthday in 1884
  • Marital status
  • Sex
  • Race
  • Place of birth (if in Iowa, the county of birth, if not state or country)
  • Parentage (if native or foreign) of father and mother
  • Whether subject to military duty
  • Whether entitled to vote
  • If an alien whether or not have taken out naturalization papers
  • Whether literate or not
  • Any disabilities
  • Occupation

Iowa became a territory in 1838 and a state in 1846. The state of Iowa conducted statewide censuses in the following years; 1847, 1849, 1854, 1856, 1859, 1862, 1865, 1867, 1869, 1873, 1875, 1885, 1895, 1905, 1915, and 1925.

Some townships are missing in the 1885 census.

How to Use This Record[edit | edit source]

To begin your search it is helpful to know

  • Your ancestor's name
  • Other identifying information such as age or parents' names.

Search the Collection[edit | edit source]

To search the collection by name fill in your ancestor’s name in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about those in the list to what you already know about your own ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person.

To search the collection image by image
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒Select "County"
⇒Select "Locality" which takes you to the images.

Look at the images one by one. Again you will need to compare the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor.

Be aware that with either search you may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination. Keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names or variations of their name throughout their life.
  • If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names.
  • 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.

For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line video at FamilySearch Search Tips.

Using the Information[edit | edit source]

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. For example:

  • 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.
  • Use the race information to find records related to that ethnicity such as records of the Freedman’s Bureau or Indian censuses.

Tips to Keep in Mind[edit | edit source]

  • Birth places can tell you former residences and can help to establish a migration pattern for the family.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.

Unable to Find Your Ancestor?[edit | edit source]

  • Look for variant spellings of the surnames.
  • Look for an index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.

For a summary of this information see the wiki article United States, How to Use the Records Summary (FamilySearch Historical Records).

Known Issues with This Collection[edit | edit source]

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection, see the attached Wiki 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.

Related Websites[edit | edit source]

Iowa Genweb Project

Related Wiki Articles[edit | edit source]

Contributions to This Article[edit | edit source]

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.


Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections[edit | edit source]

Citations for individual image records are abailable for this collection. Browse through these images in this collection and click on, "Show Citation" box: Iowa State Census, 1885

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.