Massachusetts, State Census, 1855 (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.
Access the records: Massachusetts State Census, 1855 .

Contents

Record Description

The collection consists of an index and images of population schedules listing inhabitants of the State of Massachusetts in 1855. Suffolk County is currently missing 155 images which will be added later. This project was indexed in partnership with the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS).

For a list of records by localities and dates currently published in this collection, select the Browse.

Record Content

The census includes:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Occupation
  • Birthplace

How to Use the Records

To begin your search it is helpful to know

  • Name of your ancestor
  • Identifying information such as age and birthplace

Search the Collection

To search the collection by name fill in your ancestor’s name in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about those in the list to what you already know about your own ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person.

If you did not find the person you were looking for, you may need to search the collection image by image.
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒Select the appropriate "County"
⇒Select the appropriate "Town,Ward" which takes you to the images

Search the collection by image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor.

Be aware that with either search you may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination.

As you are searching it is helpful to know such information as your ancestor’s given name and surname, some identifying information such as residence and age, and family relationships. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name as your ancestor and that your ancestor may have used nicknames or different names at different times

  • If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names.
  • Even though these indexes are very accurate they may still contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line video at FamilySearch Search Tips.

Using the Information

When you have located your ancestor in the census, carefully evaluate each piece of information about them. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. For example:

  • Use the age listed to determine an approximate birth date. This date along with the place of birth can help you find a birth record. Birth records often list biographical and marital details about the parents and close relatives other than the immediate family.
  • Use the race information to find records related to that ethnicity such as records of the Freedman’s Bureau or Indian censuses.
  • Use the naturalization information to find their naturalization papers in the county court records. It can also help you locate immigration records such as a passenger list which would usually be kept records at the port of entry into the United States.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • Birth places can tell you former residences and can help to establish a migration pattern for the family.
  • If they are subject to military service they may have military files in the State or National Archives.
  • Occupations listed can lead you to other types of records such as employment or school records; children’s occupations are often listed as “at school.”
  • It is often helpful to extract the information on all families with the same surname in the same general area. If the surname is uncommon, it is likely that those living in the same area were related.
  • Be sure to extract all families before you look at other records. The relationships given will help you to organize family groups. The family groupings will help you identify related families when you discover additional information in other records.
  • Married family members may have lived nearby but in a separate household so you may want to search an entire town, neighboring towns, or even a county.
  • You may be able to identify an earlier generation if elderly parents were living with or close by a married child.
  • You may be able to identify a younger generation if a young married couple still lived with one of their sets of parents.
  • Additional searches may be needed to locate all members of a particular family in the census.
  • The census may identify persons for whom other records do not exist.

General Information About These Records

In 1855, the legislature directed that a census be taken on June 1 of that year and every 10 years thereafter. The census schedules were delivered to the State Secretary and eventually sent to the State Archives for safe keeping. The census schedules are well preserved at the Massachusetts State Archives and they have been microfilmed.

The state censuses of Massachusetts were taken in order to enumerate the population for representation purposes. Censuses are usually reliable, depending on the knowledge of the informant and the care of the census enumerator. Information may have been given to a census taker by any member of the family or by a neighbor.

For a summary of this information see the wiki article: United States, How to Use the Records Summary (FamilySearch Historical Records).

Known Issues with This Collection

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See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.org Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

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Contributions to This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. Guidelines are available to help you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide. If you would like to get more involved join the WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Citations for This Collection

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information; that is, cite your sources. This will help people find the record again and evaluate the reliability of the source. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records. Citations are available for the collection as a whole and each record or image individually.

Collection Citation:

"Massachusetts State Census, 1855." Index and Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing Secretary of the Commonwealth. State Archives, Boston.

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

The citation for a record is available with each record in this collection, at the bottom of the record screen. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for Massachusetts State Census, 1855.

Image citation:

The citation for an image is available on each image in this collection by clicking Show Citation at the bottom left of the image screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Massachusetts State Census, 1855.

 

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  • This page was last modified on 4 November 2014, at 17:58.
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