|Census Schedules Microfilm|
Censuses are taken to count inhabitants, but they also contain much more information. Census publications and reports provide statistical information. Census schedules are copies of the actual forms filled out by individuals or census takers.
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The federal census, mandated by the U.S. Constitution, originally was to be an enumeration of inhabitants. However, it has evolved to much more than a count of the number of people living in our country. Federal census records can be used to pinpoint the locations of family members within a state or county and to obtain information about other family members. From 1790 to 1840, the only information requested on the censuses was the name of the head of the household and the number of family members between certain ages. Beginning with the 1850 census, other family members are listed by name and age with occupations given. Some subsequent censuses list where the individual was born, where his or her parents were born, the number of years of education and even whether the individual owned or rented property. Remember that census information is only as reliable as the person giving it. It should be used to locate a person during a specific time, not as proof of any vital information.
Twenty-two U.S. censuses have been taken. For privacy reasons, the census is made available to the public 72 years after it was taken. The 1930 census was released on April 1, 2002.
Minnesota conducted censuses in 1865, 1875, 1885, 1895, and 1905.
Identifying U.S. Census Reels
The University Libraries do not have census indexes. The National Archives prepares microfilm catalogs identifying which counties are on which reels; you need to use these catalogs, or indexes found in other libraries, to determine which microfilm reels you want to examine. To find the lists online, use the Federal Population Censuses Catalogs of National Archives and Records Administration Microfilm. Within each census, find your state and then county. The number to the left of the county name is the reel number within that census. Paper editions of the catalogs are available in the Government Publications Library in Wilson Library.
Locating Censuses in MNCAT
All publications from or about a particular census, including microfilm sets, can be located in MNCAT by subject. Use the following format:
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