Minnesota Census

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United States  >  U.S. Census  >  Minnesota  >  Census

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  • Look for an ancestor in every census during her or his lifetime.
  • On the family group record show each person's census listings.
  • Study others in the same household, neighbors, and anyone with the similar names nearby on the census in community context.


  • For a list of the exact date of each federal census, click here.

Online Minnesota indexes and images

1900-1940

Online Federal and State Population Schedules of Minnesota 
  Free Free at Some Libraries (usually with a library card)* Pay
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Internet Archive[2]  Misc.  Heritage Quest[3] Fold3[4] Ancestry FHL[5] Ancestry Library[5] Ancestry Home[5] Archives[6] Family Link[7]
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1870-1895

Online Federal and State Population Schedules of Minnesota 
  Free Free at Some Libraries (usually with a library card)* Pay
Family
Search[1]
Internet Archive[2]  Misc.  Heritage Quest[3] Fold3[4] Ancestry FHL[5] Ancestry Library[5] Ancestry Home[5] Archives[6] Family Link[7]
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1820-1865

Online Federal and State Population Schedules of Minnesota 
  Free Free at Some Libraries (usually with a library card)* Pay
Family
Search[1]
Internet Archive[2]  Misc.  Heritage Quest[3] Fold3[4] Ancestry FHL[5] Ancestry Library[5] Ancestry Home[5] Archives[6] Family Link[7]
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Federal population schedules

Microfilm images

  • 1900 The schedule for White Earth Indian Reservation follows Yellow Medicine County Census.

Indexes: fiche, film, or book

For a list of microform and book indexes for the population schedules of Minnesota, click here

Federal non-population schedules

Online indexes and images

Online Federal Non-Population Schedules for Minnesota

Free Free at Some Libraries (usually with library card) Pay
Year Type Record Search Census Bureau Google Book Heritage Quest Ancestry FHL Ancestry Library Ancestry Home
1890 Veterans - - - - Link Link Link
1880 Mortality - - - - Link Link Link
1870 Mortality - - - - Link Link Link
1860 Mortality - - - - Link Link Link
1850 Mortality Link - - - Link Link Link
1840 Pensioners - BookLink BookLink - Link Link Link

Microfilm images

  • United States. Census Office. 11th Census, 1890. Schedules Enumerating Union Veterans and Widows of Union Veterans of the Civil War. National Archives Microfilm Publication M123. (On 118 Family History Library microfilms.) The Minnesota returns are available at the Family History Library on Family History Library microfilms 338181–84.

Indexes: fiche, film, or book

For a list of microform and book indexes for the non-population schedules of Minnesota, click here.

State, territorial, and colonial censuses

1865--Name, sex, colored, deaf, dumb, blind, soldier in service on June 1, 1865.

1875--Name, age, sex, color, place of birth, father of foreign birth, mother of foreign birth

1885--Name, age, sex, color, place of birth, father of foreign birth, mother of foreign birth, whether deaf, dumb, blind, insane or soldier in Civil War

1895--Name, age, sex, color, place of birth, father of foreign birth, mother of foreign birth, whether deaf, dumb, blind, insane or soldier in Civil War

1905--Gives same as 1895, plus: street address, place of birth of father, place of birth of mother, service in Civil and Spanish Wars.

Portions of some counties have been indexed, and some are available in published format. Census schedules for some years have been lost for some counties. Microfilms are available at the Minnesota Historical Society and at the Family History Library.

The Minnesota Historical Society created guides of their collection for the 1865, 1875, 1885, 1895, and 1905 censuses that include a county index, an introduction that lists counties that have no schedule, and a roll content list that has the subdivisions (townships, municipalities) in each county and the order they appear on the roll.

The Minnesota Historical Society’s Genealogical Resources of the Minnesota Historical Society, A Guide has information on all the censuses that pertain to Minnesota. (See the "Minnesota Archives and Libraries" article.)

Some of the early territorial censuses have been published in the Minnesota Genealogist and the Minnesota Genealogical Journal.

The film numbers for Minnesota State Censuses are also found in:

  • State Census Register: State and County Censuses Located at the Family History Library  Salt Lake City, Utah: Family History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,2005  (Family History Library book 973 X23us Vol. 1-3)

Portions of present-day Minnesota were included in the 1836 Wisconsin territorial census, as part of Crawford and Dubuque counties. (Dubuque County was later in Iowa Territory.) In 1838, the Wisconsin territorial census covered some of Minnesota in Crawford and Clayton counties. Some Minnesota residents are listed in the 1840 territorial censuses of Wisconsin and Iowa.

In 1849 Minnesota became its own territory.  Territorial censuses were taken in 1849, 1850, 1853, 1855 and 1857. A microfilmed index is at Minnesota Historical Library and available through interlibrary loan. Parts or all of some of these censuses have been lost. Others are at the Minnesota Historical Society Library. The Family History Library has:

  • Minnesota. Census Bureau. Schedules of the Minnesota Census of 1857. National Archives Microfilm Publication, T1175. Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1973. (Family History Library microfilms 944283–90.) The 1857 census is arranged alphabetically by county and then by the smaller jurisdiction. It was taken 21 September 1857 and lists each household member and includes name, age, sex, race, birth locality (state, territory, or country), occupation, and if naturalized or native citizen.

According to the article below, some fictional names of people and places of residence were listed in southwestern Minnesota in the 1857 census:

  • Forrest, Robert J. Mythical Cities of Southwestern Minnesota. Minnesota History: A Quarterly Magazine. 14, no. 3 (September 1933): 243–62. (Family History Library book 977.6 H25m; film 965778.)

Existing and lost censuses

For a list of available and missing Minnesota censuses, click here.

Why use a census?

A well-indexed census is one of the easiest ways to locate where an ancestor's family lived and when they lived there. You can also use censuses to follow the changes in a family over time, and identify neighbors. These and other clues provided by censuses are important because they help find additional kinds of records about the family.

More about censuses

Click here for additional details about how to use censuses, such as:

Sources and footnotes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 FamilySearch, a free online service of the Family History Library, including free images of many federal censuses, including an index of the 1880 federal census of the United States; connected with 1880 census images provided by Ancestry.com, a subscription site.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Internet Archive, a free online service includes free images of most of the federal censuses.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 HeritageQuest has arranged with many subscribing public libraries in the United States to allow users free access on home computers by means of their personal library card numbers. HeritageQuest provides images of all surviving 1790 to 1930 federal censuses, and indexes to many but not all of them.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Fold3, formerly known as Footnote.com, a subscription site partnering with the National Archives and includes some federal censuses. Free access is available at many public libraries.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 Ancestry.com, a subscription site that provides online indexes and images to all surviving federal and many state census records, among other sources. They have three online editions: (1) an FHL edition free only at the Family History Library and a few Family History Centers, (2) a slightly smaller Library edition free only at some public libraries, and (3) a Home edition subscription service for individuals.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Archives.com, a subscription site that provides online indexes and images to all surviving federal census records, among other sources.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 FamilyLink.com, a subscription site that provides online images (and some indexes) to all surviving federal and many state census records, among other sources.
  8. The National Archives copy of the 1870 census was destroyed, another version was reconstructed from duplicates preserved by the state. The Family History Library has copies from both the Minnesota Historical Society (Archives and Manuscripts Collections) and the National Archives. A source citation needed here.
  9. The 1850 federal census of Minnesota Territory also included non-Indians living in present-day eastern North Dakota, and eastern South Dakota.
  10. Minnesota was divided between Wisconsin and Iowa Territories in the 1840 federal census.
  11. According to William Thorndale, and William Dollarhide, Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1987) [FHL Book 973 X2th], 169, "This population [Ft. Snelling] seems not to be in the 1830 census even for the area east of the Mississippi River in Crawford County [Michigan Territory]. According to Ann S. Lainhart, State Census Records (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992)[[FHL book 973 X2Lai]], 67, "The 1830 territorial censuses do not seem to include Minnesota."
  12. Ann S. Lainhart claims in State Census Records (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992)[[FHL book 973 X2Lai]], 67, "The earliest census listing for the area that later became Minnesota are found in the 1820 Michigan territorial census."