United States Census 1850

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United States  Gotoarrow.png  U.S. Census  Gotoarrow.png  1850 Census

Indexes and Images

For an article about 1850 census population schedules available for free online at FamilySearch Record Search see the U.S. Census Population Schedules, 1850 Wiki page. Ancestry.com (subscription site) has indexes and images of all 1850 federal censuses. HeritageQuestOnline.com (subscription site) has indexes and images of all 1850 federal censuses.

Also, there are articles about the 1850 mortality schedule indexes, and 1850 slave owner schedule indexes free online as part of FamilySearch Record Search. Ancestry.com has those mortality and slave owner indexes and images online for a subscription fee.

For more details, see individual state census Wiki pages. For tips if the first census index search does not work, see the United States Census Searching Wiki page.


1850 Census was taken beginning 1 June 1850, for five months. The following information was recorded by the census taker:
                        Occupation males over 15
                        Value of real estate
                        Birthplace—territory of country of birth
                        Attended school or married in the year?
                        If over 20—could read/write?
                        Deaf-mute, blind, insane, or idiotic?
                        Fugitive from state?
                 SLAVE SCHEDULES:
                        Name of slave owner
                        # of slaves owned
                        # of slaves manumitted (released from slavery)
                        NO NAME OF SLAVES
                        Age, color, sex
                        Deaf-mute, blind, insane, idiotic?
                        Fugitive from state?

1790-2000 Info: http://www.census.gov/prod/2000pubs/cff-2.pdf


The 1850 census can be used to:1

                        Find free population/slave pop. & mortality, agriculture, industry data
                        Identify families by name
                        Identify birthplaces which helps w/immigration
                        Identify ages —go to vital records
                        Identify Real estate—land and tax records
                        Identifly probable relationships—be careful!
                        Identify occupations/property value
                        Identify possible remarriages/step relationships
1850-1930 Search Tips:  http://www.archives.gov/genealogy/census/1850-1930.html 

 Unique Features and Problems

1.  Census takers were given more instructions and guidelines in print
2.  First census to list names of all in the household
3.  First to list ages, sex, color, & place of birth
4.  Census taken in order of visitation
5.  Listed those married within the year
6.  Listed those who died after 1 June
7.  Dwelling house number
8.  Real estate value
9.  Occupation of males over 16
10. Whether a fugitive of the state
11. Though it still did not list slave names, it listed more information about the slaves
12. Listed heath or lifestyle issues: “Deaf, dumb, blind, insane, idiotic, pauper or convict”
13. Omitted children born after 1 June (even if the census taker took it later)
14. Indians that lived on reservations or unsettles tracts of land were not included.
15. Make count by personal inquiry at every dwelling
16. Enumerator to make 2 additional copies:
        - Clerk of county court
        - Secretary of state/territory
        - Census Office
17. No Indians in reservations or unsettled land

States Covered and Missing

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.

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Mississippi
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • Virginia (inc. West Virginia)
  • Wisconsin

 No states missing.


  • Minnesota (inc. Dakotas)
  • New Mexico (inc. Arizona)
  • Oregon (inc. Washington & Idaho)
  • Utah

Web Sites

United States Censuses 1850-1920—Free Internet census indexes and images to the 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880 (index only), 1900, and 1920 (partial index only) can be viewed on the FamilySearch Record Search. These indexes show every name listed on the census and except for 1880 and 1920 are also linked to census images including information about each person’s residence, age, birthplace, occupation, other family members, and neighbors.

1790-2000 Info: http://www.census.gov/prod/2000pubs/cff-2.pdf

1850-1930 Search Tips: http://www.archives.gov/genealogy/census/1850-1930.html

Sources of This Collectio

1. Szucs, Loretto Dennis and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking. The Source: A Guide book to American Genealogy. 3rd ed. (Provo, UT: Ancestry, 2006.)

How to Cite Your Sources

An example of citing these records is: United States. Census Office. 7th census, 1850. United States Census, 1850. Census page. From FamilySearch Internet (www.familysearch.org), April 23, 2010. Emma Newell, Shoreham, Addison, Vermont, film number 27446, image number 00188.

Instructions for citing this source can be found at: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections