History and Genealogy Information

Census Records Online

You can start your Census records search with only

  • the name of your relative or ancestor, and hopefully
  • the state he or she resided in

The first Federal Population Census was taken in 1790, and has been taken every ten years since. However, data from recent censuses are not available after 1940 because of a 72-year restriction on access to the Census. Most researchers find it most helpful to begin with the 1940 Census and work backwards to locate people in earlier generations.

The National Archives has the census schedules on microfilm available from 1790 to 1940, and online access is available through our digitization partners (free at any National Archives facility).
See our Census Resources page to search the digitized records on our partners’ websites..  (Please note: Most of the 1890 Census was destroyed in a Department of Commerce fire, though partial records are available for some states.)

What can the Census tell me?

Census records can provide the building blocks of your research, allowing you to both confirm information, and to learn more.

From 1850 to 1940, details are provided for all individuals in each household, such as:

Tip: Begin with the most current census year available and work backwards. With the 72-year restriction on access to the Census, the most current year available is 1940.
  • names of family members
  • their ages at a certain point in time
  • their state or country of birth
  • their parent’s birthplaces
  • year of immigration
  • street address
  • marriage status and years of marriage
  • occupation(s)
  • value of their home and personal belongings
  • the crops that they grew (in agricultural schedules), etc.

Not all of this kind of information is available in every census. Before the 1850 Census, few of these details were recorded. From 1790-1840, only the head of household is listed and the number of household members in selected age groups.

For specifics on what information was collected in each census year, see Availability of Census Records About Individuals

Other Digitization Sources for Census and other information

 

Free Family History and Genealogy Records — FamilySearch.org

Discover your family history. Explore the world’s largest collection of free family trees, genealogy records and resources.

Find A Grave – Millions of Cemetery Records

The World’s largest gravesite collection. Contribute, create and discover gravesites from all over the world. Find A Grave – Millions of Cemetery Records.

Research and Educational Resources through EBSCO free to Caruthersville Public Library Patrons

(Click on link to access resources)
HeritageQuest® Online is a comprehensive treasury of American genealogical sources—rich in unique primary sources, local and family histories, convenient research guides, interactive census maps, and more.

Discover the amazing history of you with HeritageQuest Online. With more than 4.4 billion records, it delivers an essential collection of genealogical and historical sources—with coverage dating back to the 1700s—that can help people find their ancestors and discover a place’s past.

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  • Census collection contains over 700 million records from the U.S. Federal Census 1790-1940, and national censuses including Argentina, Netherlands, Czech Republic and several other countries.
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Heritage Quest Online