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1840 census


What is the census and what type of information can I find in it?

A census is an official enumeration of the population in a particular area. In addition to counting the inhabitants of an area, the census generally collects other vital information, such as names, ages, citizenship status, and ethnic background. The United States government began collecting census data in 1790, and has done so every 10 years since that date. Selected states have also conducted their own censuses over the years.

In the 1840 census, you can find the following information:

* the name of the head of the family

* the number of free white males under 5, over 5 and under 10, over 10 and under 15, over 15 and under 20, over 20 and under 30, over 30 and under 40, over 40 and under 50, over 50 and under 60, over 60 and under 70, over 70 and under 80, over 80 and under 90, over 90 and under 100, over 100

* the number of free white females under 5, over 5 and under 10, over 10 and under 15, over 15 and under 20, over 20 and under 30, over 30 and under 40, over 40 and under 50, over 50 and under 60, over 60 and under 70, over 70 and under 80, over 80 and under 90, over 90 and under 100, over 100

* the number of male slaves under 10, over 10 and under 24, over 24 and under 36, over 36 and under 55, over 55 and under 100, over 100

* the number of female slaves under 10, over 10 and under 24, over 24 and under 36, over 36 and under 55, over 55 and under 100, over 100

* the number of free Black males under 10, over 10 and under 24, over 24 and under 36, over 36 and under 55, over 55 and under 100, over 100

* the number of free Black females under 10, over 10 and under 24, over 24 and under 36, over 36 and under 55, over 55 and under 100, over 100

* the number of individuals engaged in mining, agriculture, commerce, manufacturing and trades, navigation of the oceans, navigation of the lakes, canals, and rivers, learned professions and engineering

* the number of deaf and dumb whites under 14, over 14 and under 25, over 25

* the number of blind whites

* the number of idiotic or insane whites

* the number of white males over 21 who cannot read and write

* the number of deaf and dumb slaves and free Blacks under 14, over 14 and under 25, over 25

* the number of blind slaves and free Blacks

* the number of idiotic or insane slaves and free Blacks

* the number of white foreigners not naturalized

Where can I find census data?

Census records are available through the National Archives and the National Archives regional branches. You can also find census records at many libraries, including the Family History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

However, to find your ancestors in these census records, you'll need to use an index. Soundex indexes are available, with some exceptions, for the years 1880 to 1920. For information about Soundex, see the topic Soundex: what it is and how to use it.

At many libraries you can also find bound and microfilmed indexes for censuses from 1870 and earlier. You can find indexes at many of the same places where you find census records. Different locations have different indexes, so check more than one library if you don't find the index that you need.

In addition, computerized indexes for census records are becoming available. The FamilyFinder Index, a feature of Family Tree Maker software and also available for searching at FamilyTreeMaker.com, is an index of over 220 million names from census records, marriage records, Social Security death records, actual family trees, and more. This feature can help you by telling you if your ancestor's name is actually listed on one of the census record CDs Genealogy.com sells. Using the FamilyFinder Index couldn't be easier -- all you need to do is enter the names of your ancestors right into your own computer. If the FamilyFinder Index tells you that your ancestors are listed, then it's simple to locate your ancestor's record. For more information about FamilyFinder, or for information about purchasing CD-ROM indexes, see the topic All about FamilyFinder.

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