Minnesota, State Census, 1885 (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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Access the records: Minnesota State Census, 1885 .
This census is for the year 1885.
The record is a printed form that was filled in by hand by the enumerator. The forms are arranged by county and community.
For a list of records by localities and dates currently published in this collection, select the Browse.
Citation for This Collection
The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Records collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.
- "Minnesota State Census, 1885." Index. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing Census Bureau. State Library and Records Service, St. Paul.
Key genealogical facts found in the Minnesota 1885 State Census are:
- Place of birth (state or territory if in the U.S., country if foreign born)
- Length of residence
- If a soldier or sailor in the Civil War
- Whether mother and father foreign born or not
- Residence or location within a country (The location within a county may not be a town name but a legal land description instead which gives the township number and the range number.)
How to Use the Record
To begin your search it is helpful to know the following:
Search the Collection
Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination. Keep in mind:
- There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
- You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
- Your ancestor may have used different names or variations of their name throughout their life.
For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line video at FamilySearch Search Tips.
To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select the Browse link in the initial search page
⇒Select the County
⇒Select the Township/City/Town/Village/Ward category which takes you to the images
Look at the images one by one comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination.
Using the Information
When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. Save a copy of the image or transcribe the information. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details such as a title, an occupation, or land ownership. Add this new information to your records of each family. You should also look for leads 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
- If they are subject to military service they may have military files in the State or National Archives.
- Occupations listed can lead you to employment records or other types of records such as school records or military records.
- 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.
- Birth places can tell you former residences and can help to establish a migration pattern for the family.
- 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.
Unable to Find Your Ancestor?
- Look for variant spellings of the surnames.
- Look for an index. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records.
- Search the indexes and records of nearby localities.
General Information About State Census Records
The census includes most individuals within the counties enumerated. State censuses were taken in Minnesota every ten years beginning in 1865 through 1905.
The census was compiled to obtain a description and a count of the population of the state of Minnesota. This helps in apportioning political representation at all levels of government.
The information is generally reliable. However, use the information with some caution since it may have been given to a census taker by any member of the family or by a neighbor. Some information may have been incorrect or deliberately falsified.
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Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection
"Minnesota State Census, 1885." database and digital images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/: accessed 27 March 2012). entry for John Church, age 25; citing Census Records, FHL microfilm 000,565,734; State Library and Records Service, St. Paul, Minnesota.