New Jersey, State Census, 1885 (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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New Jersey, State Census, 1885
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
New Jersey, United States
New Jersey flag.png
Flag of New Jersey
US Locator New Jersey.png
Location of New Jersey
Record Description
Record Type State Census
Collection years 1885
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites


What is in This Collection?

This collection is an index to the 1885 New Jersey state census. The census is a printed form that was filled in by hand by the enumerator. It is arranged by county and by township within each county.

Some records may be missing, including Jersey City (Hudson County) records from Family History Library film numbers 888618, 888619, 888620, 888621 and 888622.

The state of New Jersey took a state census every 10 years beginning in 1855 and continuing through 1915. The 1885 census is the first to survive in its entirety. The census was compiled to obtain a count of the population to determine how many representatives the state would send to Congress.

The information is generally reliable. However use the information with some caution, since the 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.

To Browse This Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for New Jersey State Census, 1885.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

The 1890 U.S. Federal Census was damaged and destroyed by fire in 1921. Less than 1 percent of the schedules are available for research today. Because of this problem, the 1885 New Jersey State Census is a highly valuable source as it provides information that would otherwise may be found in the federal census.

The 1885 New Jersey State Census generally includes:

  • The first and last names of individuals
  • Residence
  • Race
  • Gender
  • Native or foreign born
  • Age range

Collection Content

Sample Image

How Do I Search This Collection?

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The name of your ancestor
  • The approximate age of your ancestor
  • The place where your ancestor lived
  • The names of other family members and their relationships

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 the County
  2. Select the Locality 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?

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.

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

  • Use the place of residence to search other records such as federal censuses, church and land records
  • If they are foreign born, look for immigration and naturalization records
  • 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 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

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
  • Look for a different index. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby localities
  • There is also the possibility that a family was missed in the census

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

"New Jersey State Census, 1885." Database and images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2016. Department of State, Trenton.

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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