North Carolina Census

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United States  >  U.S. Census  >  [North Carolina|North Carolina]]  >  North Carolina Census


1790-1930 Federal Census Records--All federal census records 1790 to 1930 are available for North Carolina with the following exceptions:

1790-- Caswell, Granville, and Orange (reconstructed from tax lists: Caswell 1780, 1784;

                                 Granville, 1786–1791; Orange, 1784–1793)

1810--Craven, Greene, New Hanover, and Wake

1820--Currituck, Franklin, Martin, Montgomery, Randolph, and Wake

1850 United States Census—A free Internet index and images to the 1850 United States Census can be viewed on the FamilySearch Record Search – Pilot Site. This index includes every name listed on the census and is linked to an image including information about each person’s residence and age in 1850, birthplace, occupation, other family members, and neighbors.

1860 United States CensusA free Internet index and images to the 1860 United States Census can be viewed on the FamilySearch Record Search – Pilot Site. This index includes every name listed on the census and is linked to an image including information about each person’s residence and age in 1860, birthplace, occupation, other family members, whether married or single, and neighbors

 1870 United States Census---A free internet index and images can be viewed on FamilySearch Record Pilot site. This index includes the full name, age, sex, race, birthplace, occupation, month if born in census year, month if married in census year, birth place of father and mother, if born in a foreign country.

1880 United States Census– A Free Internet Index and Images to the US Census can be viewed on the Family Search Record Pilot – Pilot Site. This index includes an every name index to population schedules listing inhabitants. It includes the full name, race, sex, age, birth month (if born during the previous year), relationship to head of household, whether married, single or divorced, whether married during the previous year, country or state of birth of each person and his parent’s, occupation and street address and house number

1890-- destroyed for all areas except for parts of Gaston County

                                 (South Point and River Bend townships) and Cleveland County

                                  (Brookhaven township number 2).

1900 Federal Census - A free Internet index and images to the 1900 United States Census can be viewed on the  FamilySearch Record Search – Pilot Site. Important additions to this census are month and year of birth of each household member, number of years married for each married person, number of children born to each mother and the number of those still living, year of immigration, and number of years in the United States.

Many federal census records are found at the Family History Library, the National Archives, and other federal and state archives. The United States Census article provides detailed information about these records.

 Historical Background

In 1789 North Carolina became a state and ceded what is now Tennessee to the United States government.



If possible, use online indexes first.  Use other indexes if the ancestor was not found.

1790-1930 Online Index--All federal census records for Maine are indexed online at 

The following indexes are available at the Family History library:

1790-1850 Indexes--The Family History Library has statewide indexes for the 1790, 1800, 1810, 1820, 1830, 1840, and 1850 censuses in book and microfiche format.

1850-1870 Indexes--The library also has a partial index of some counties and some towns for the 1850, 1860, and 1870 censuses.

1880, 1900-1930 Indexes--Soundex (phonetic) indexes are available for part of the 1880 census and all of the 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 censuses.

1890 Index--For an index of individuals in the 99 North Carolina families recorded in the surviving fragments of the 1890 population schedule, see:

  • Nelson, Ken. 1890 U.S. Census Index to Surviving Population Schedules and Register of Film Numbers to the Special Census of Union Veterans. Rev. ed. Salt Lake City, Utah: Family History Library, 1991. (Family History Library book 973 X2na1890; 1984 ed. on film 1421673 item113.)
  • Index to the Eleventh Census of the United States, 1890, is on Family History Library films 543341–42. The existing original 1890 census records for North Carolina are on Family History Library film 926499.

County-wide indexes--County indexes often contain the names of every person in the household and may also include heads of households who were overlooked or whose names were misspelled in statewide indexes. County-wide indexes are listed in the  Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:  NORTH CAROLINA, [COUNTY]- CENSUS- [YEAR].

Multi-state indexes-- usually contain the same information gathered in preparing statewide indexes. They often index censuses (federal, state, and territorial), tax lists, and other records that identified where people lived in an area. Multi-state indexes containing North Carolina include:

1870 Index--The index for African Americans in the 1870 Census is cited fully in the "Minorities" section.


Special Censuses 

Colonial Censuses

Colonial Census Substitutes--For the colonial period, there are many indexes that you can use as census substitutes such as indexes to taxation records and probate records. Many tax lists and lists of residence for the 1680s–1831 are published in:

  • Jackson, Ronald Vern. Early North Carolina.7 vols. Bountiful, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems, 1980–. (Family History Library book 973 D2jeno.) Each volume is alphabetized. The names of these volumes are also listed in the Accelerated Indexing Systems fiche searches 1, 2, and 3. 

1850-1880--The 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880 censuses have mortality schedules, which are lists of the people who died in the year before the census was taken. The Family History Library and the North Carolina State Archives have copies of these mortality schedules. For information from these schedules, see:

  • Almasy, Sandra Lee. North Carolina Mortality Census, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880. 13 vols. Joliet, Illinois: Kensington Glen Publishing, 1994. (Family History Library book 975.6 X2a.)


1850 United States Census Mortality Schedules—A free Internet index and images to the 1850 United States Census Mortality Schedules can be viewed on the FamilySearch Record Search - Pilot Site. Mortality schedules provided nationwide death statistics for the twelve months prior to the 1850 census.  Key genealogical facts found on the 1850 mortality schedule are: Name, age, sex, color, married or widowed, birthplace, month of death, occupation, cause of death.

Slave Holder Schedules

1850 United States Census Slave Schedules—A free Internet index and images to the 1850 United States Census Slave Schedules can be viewed on the FamilySearch Record Search – Pilot Site listing each slave owner's name and residence. It also shows the age, gender, and color of the slaves. Slave names are not normally listed.

Slave Schedules

1850–1860-- Slave schedules for 1850 and 1860 list the names of slave owners, but do not normally list the names of the slaves. The number of slaves, whether male or female, and the age ranges of the slaves are given. North Carolina slave schedules at the Family History Library are cataloged with the population schedules.

Veteran's Censuses

1840 Federal Census--Included a list of Revolutionary War veterans. The list gives their age, the place where they were living, and the name of the head of the household. The following index is available, listing these veterans for all states:

  • A General Index to a Census of Pensioners for Revolutionary or Military Service, 1840. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing, 1965. (Family History Library book 973 X2pc 1965 index; fiche 6046771; film 899835 items 1–2.) The book with the actual 1840 census information is:
  • A Census of Pensioners for Revolutionary or Military Service: With Their Names, Ages, and Places of Residence, as [[|]]Returned by the Marshalls of the Several Judicial Districts, Under the Act for Taking the Sixth Census. Washington D.C.: Printed by Blair and Rives, 1841. (Family History Library book 973 X2pc 1840; film 1064759 item3).

Veterans Schedules 1890. For the 1890 census of North Carolina Union Army veterans of the Civil War, see:

  • United States. Census Office. 11th Census, 1890. Schedules Enumerating Union Veterans and Widows of Union Veterans of the Civil War. National Archives Microfilm Publications, M0123. Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1948. (On 118 reels, beginning with Family History Library film 338160.

Indexes to the veterans schedules are:

  • Almasy, Sandra L. North Carolina, 1890, Civil War Veterans Census. Joliet, Illinois: Kensington Glen Publishing, 1990. (Family History Library book 975.6 M2a.)
  • Jackson, Ronald Vern. 1890 North Carolina Census Index. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems, 1985. (Family History Library book 975.6 X28j 1890.) '

Nonpopulation Schedules:

The North Carolina State Archives has these nonpopulation censuses for North Carolina:
Agriculture: 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880
Industry/Manufacturing: 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880
Social Statistics:
1850, 1860, 1870

State Census

1784-1787 State Census--In 1784 the U.S. Continental Congress requested a list of the number of inhabitants in each state. North Carolina took three years (1784–1787) to complete the count. The records for 24 of the 50 counties then existing are available in:

  • Register, Alvaretta K. State Census of North Carolina, 1784–1787, 2nd rev. ed. 1971. Reprint, Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing, 1973. Family History Library book 975.6 X2r.) The lists include white and African American heads of families. This census shows heads of households, their residence, and the age categories of their household members. It is indexed.


Ancestry ($$):
Ancestry has the Federal Census Schedules and images for 1790-1930, Mortality Schedules for 1850-1880, and Slave Schedules for 1850-1860.

Heritage Quest Online:

Census Online:


Access Genealogy:

National Archives: 

Mortality Schedules:


North Carolina Research Outline. Salt Lake City, Utah: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., Family History Department, 1998, 2001.