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Tips
  • If at first you don't find a name, try again under another spelling.
  • Photocopy each ancestor's census. Identify where you found it.
  • Look for an ancestor in every census during her or his lifetime.
  • On the family group record show each person's census listings.
  • Study others in the same household, neighbors, and anyone with the similar names nearby on the census in community context.


  • For a list of the exact date of each federal census, click here.

Online Minnesota indexes and images

1900-1940

Online Federal and State Population Schedules of Minnesota 
  Free Free at Some Libraries (usually with a library card)* Pay
Family
Search[1]
Internet Archive[2]  Misc.  Heritage Quest[3] Fold3[4] Ancestry FHL[5] Ancestry Library[5] Ancestry Home[5] Archives[6] Family Link[7]
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1870-1895

Online Federal and State Population Schedules of Minnesota 
  Free Free at Some Libraries (usually with a library card)* Pay
Family
Search[1]
Internet Archive[2]  Misc.  Heritage Quest[3] Fold3[4] Ancestry FHL[5] Ancestry Library[5] Ancestry Home[5] Archives[6] Family Link[7]
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1820-1865

Online Federal and State Population Schedules of Minnesota 
  Free Free at Some Libraries (usually with a library card)* Pay
Family
Search[1]
Internet Archive[2]  Misc.  Heritage Quest[3] Fold3[4] Ancestry FHL[5] Ancestry Library[5] Ancestry Home[5] Archives[6] Family Link[7]
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Federal population schedules

Microfilm images

Federal Census Microfilms Available from the Family History Library
1940 N/A 1910 1870            
1930 1900 and Soundex 1860
1920 and Soundex 1880 and Soundex 1850


Federal Census Microfilms Available from the National Archives
1940 N/A 1910 T624 1880 T9 and Soundex T756     
1930 T626 1900 T623 and Soundex T1053 1870 M593
1920 T625 and Soundex M1569 1890 fragments M407 / index M496 1860 M653 
  1850 M432  


  • 1900 The schedule for White Earth Indian Reservation follows Yellow Medicine County Census.

Indexes: fiche, film, or book

For a list of microform and book indexes for the population schedules of Minnesota, click here

Federal non-population schedules

Online indexes and images

Online Federal Non-Population Schedules for Minnesota

Free Free at Some Libraries (usually with library card) Pay
Year Type Record Search Census Bureau Google Book Heritage Quest Ancestry FHL Ancestry Library Ancestry Home
1890 Veterans Link - - - Link Link Link
1880 Mortality Link - - - Link Link Link
1870 Mortality Link - - - Link Link Link
1860 Mortality Link - - - Link Link Link
1850 Mortality Link - - - Link Link Link
1840 Pensioners Link BookLink BookLink - Link Link Link

Microfilm images

  • United States. Census Office. 11th Census, 1890. Schedules Enumerating Union Veterans and Widows of Union Veterans of the Civil War. National Archives Microfilm Publication M123. (On 118 Family History Library microfilms.) The Minnesota returns are available at the Family History Library on Family History Library microfilms 338181–84.

Indexes: fiche, film, or book

For a list of microform and book indexes for the non-population schedules of Minnesota, click here.

State, territorial, and colonial censuses

Minnesota took censuses in different years than the federal censuses. These censuses may have different data compared to federal censuses. Check these censuses for more information on a family.

  • 1905 State census.[12][13]
  • 1895 State census.[12][13] A partial card index exists at the Minnesota Historical Society for Aitkin, Anoka, Becker, Beltrami, and Big Stone counties.
  • 1885 State census.[12][13]
  • 1875 State census.[12][13]
  • 1865 State census.[12][13] Missing: Aitkin, Anoka, Becker, Benton, Big Stone, Chippewa, Cottonwood, Douglas, Itasca, Kandiyohi, Kittson, Murray, Nobles, Otter Tail, Pipestone, Polk, Pope, Redwood, Renville, Rock, Stevens, Traverse, Wadena, and Wilkin counties.
  • 1857 Territorial census.[12] Some people and places are fictional.[13][14]
  • 1855 Territorial census.[12] Incomplete.[13]
  • 1853 Territorial census.[12] Incomplete.[13]
  • 1849 Territorial census.[12][13][15]
  • 1838 Territorial census as part of Wisconsin Territory (Crawford and Clayton counties).[12][13]
  • 1836 Territorial census as part of Wisconsin Territory (Crawford and Dubuque counties).[12][13]

Most of the original censuses are located at the Minnesota Historical Society. Some of the early territorial censuses have been published in the Minnesota Genealogist and the Minnesota Genealogical Journal.

Existing and lost censuses

For a list of available and missing Minnesota censuses, click here.

Why use a census?

A well-indexed census is one of the easiest ways to locate where an ancestor's family lived and when they lived there. You can also use censuses to follow the changes in a family over time, and identify neighbors. These and other clues provided by censuses are important because they help find additional kinds of records about the family.

More about censuses

Click here for additional details about how to use censuses, such as:

Sources and footnotes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 FamilySearch, a free online service of the Family History Library, including free images of many federal censuses, including an index of the 1880 federal census of the United States; connected with 1880 census images provided by Ancestry.com, a subscription site.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Internet Archive, a free online service includes free images of most of the federal censuses.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 HeritageQuest has arranged with many subscribing public libraries in the United States to allow users free access on home computers by means of their personal library card numbers. HeritageQuest provides images of all surviving 1790 to 1930 federal censuses, and indexes to many but not all of them.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Fold3, formerly known as Footnote.com, a subscription site partnering with the National Archives and includes some federal censuses. Free access is available at many public libraries.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 Ancestry.com, a subscription site that provides online indexes and images to all surviving federal and many state census records, among other sources. They have three online editions: (1) an FHL edition free only at the Family History Library and a few Family History Centers, (2) a slightly smaller Library edition free only at some public libraries, and (3) a Home edition subscription service for individuals.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Archives.com, a subscription site that provides online indexes and images to all surviving federal census records, among other sources.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 FamilyLink.com, a subscription site that provides online images (and some indexes) to all surviving federal and many state census records, among other sources.
  8. The National Archives copy of the 1870 census was destroyed, another version was reconstructed from duplicates preserved by the state. The Family History Library has copies from both the Minnesota Historical Society (Archives and Manuscripts Collections) and the National Archives. A source citation needed here.
  9. The 1850 federal census of Minnesota Territory also included non-Indians living in present-day eastern North Dakota, and eastern South Dakota.
  10. Minnesota was divided between Wisconsin and Iowa Territories in the 1840 federal census.
  11. According to William Thorndale, and William Dollarhide, Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1987) [FHL Book 973 X2th], 169, "This population [Ft. Snelling] seems not to be in the 1830 census even for the area east of the Mississippi River in Crawford County [Michigan Territory]. According to Ann S. Lainhart, State Census Records (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992)[[FHL book 973 X2Lai]], 67, "The 1830 territorial censuses do not seem to include Minnesota."
  12. 12.00 12.01 12.02 12.03 12.04 12.05 12.06 12.07 12.08 12.09 12.10 12.11 Ann S. Lainhart claims in State Census Records (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992)[[FHL book 973 X2Lai]], 67, "The earliest census listing for the area that later became Minnesota are found in the 1820 Michigan territorial census."
  13. 13.00 13.01 13.02 13.03 13.04 13.05 13.06 13.07 13.08 13.09 13.10 Minnesota Historical Society, Library and Archives Division, Genealogical resources of the Minnesota Historical Society : a guide (St. Paul : Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1989) [FHL Book 977.6 A3mh 1993], 9-13.
  14. Robert J. Forrest, "Mythical Cities of Southwestern Minnesota," Minnesota History: A Quarterly Magazine 14, no. 3 (September 1933): 243–62. [FHL Book 977.6 H25m; Film 965778].
  15. Minnesota, Legislative Assembly, House of Representatives, Journal of the House of Representatives, first session of the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Minnesota, 1850 Appendices C and D, pages 195-215 as cited in Minnesota Historical Society, 10.


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  • This page was last modified on 20 March 2012, at 06:18.
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