As a genealogist new or experienced the Federal Population census is a go too document. From what I know and you can visit the United States Census Bureau website for more information. There are several reasons why the federal government developed the population census. I am not going in-depth about who does what about the census. But here are some key points that I think folks should know:
- It’s about people and the economy in the United States. It is taken every ten years.
- It helps delegate federal $$ to local communities every year and others things
- It does the American Community Survey, something I look at for my day job.
- The first census was taken in 1790 and today we have access to the 1940 Census.
- Every 72 years the census is available to the general public.
- Each census collected different information-visit this website to learn about each census: https://www.census.gov/prod/2000pubs/cff-2.pdf
Well let me introduce you to Joseph Goings! He is my 4th great grandfather. I find him in the 1810, 1820, and 1830 federal population census. We assume he is born about 1750 to 1775. His son Lawson was born in 1807 in Loudoun County. As of yet, we do not know when he died or where he is buried. Most of the Goings family in Loudoun County migrated to Jefferson County, Virginia, now West Virginia.
I would recommend looking and learning the columns and what should be filled in but the census taker. The 1810 Census collected the name of the head of the family, if the head of the household is white, their age and sex, race and if there were slaves. When you develop your timeline on an ancestor you want to make sure you have the census and state census listed. In addition, you want to note who is in the household.
Below is a blank 1810 to view:
Here is an 1810 census showing Joseph Goings in Loudoun County, Virginia.
Here is an 1860 Census for Medina County, Ohio. View the Wm Davis family. The 1860 census collected the 1860 the Name of the head of the household; age; sex; race; value of real estate; value of personal estate; occupation; birthplace; whether married within the year; school attendance; literacy; whether deaf and dumb; blind, insane, idiotic, pauper, or convict.
Here is the 1860 Census with William and Mildred Davis’s household.
Another document I would suggest you get is the instructions for the census takers. You can download it free from the census bureau website. With the blank census forms and the filled out forms you should gain a little bit more knowledge of the benefit of using the census. (https://www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/census_instructions/)
Know your roots, they are Long and Strong!