Illinois, 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: Illinois State Census, 1855 .

Contents

Record Description

The collection consists of name indexes for the Illinois State Census taken in 1855.

The information was handwritten on preprinted sheets. Schedules do not exist for the following counties:

  • Carroll
  • Champaign
  • Franklin
  • Gallatin
  • Henry
  • Jefferson
  • Jo Davies
  • Lake
  • Stark
  • Will
  • Woodford

Microfilm copies of original records are available at the Family History Library and at family history centers.

The state constitution of 1848 accepted the federal decennial censuses as the basis for apportionment of representatives, but also provided for state censuses at mid-decades. As a result state censuses were conducted in 1855 and 1865. The state constitution of 1870 ended the practice of state censuses. Census returns for 1855 exist for 90 of the 100 counties.

This census counted and gathered information about the population in 1855

The census was compiled to obtain a count of the population to determine how many representatives the state would send to Congress.

Reliability of the information in the census is determined by the accuracy of the knowledge of the informant, which could have been any member of the family or even a neighbor.

Record Content

The census includes the following information:

  • Name of head of family
  • Free white males by decennial age ranges; under 10, 10 to 20, 20 to 30, 30 to 40, etc.
  • Free white females by decennial age ranges; under 10, 10 to 20, 20 to 30, 30 to 40, etc.
  • Numbers of male and female Negros and mulattoes
  • Total number in household
  • Number of males eligible for duty in the militia
  • Manufactories by type (for example: mill, tin shop, saddle shop) and their value
  • Value of products of coal mines
  • Value of live stock
  • Number of pounds of wool
  • Number of colleges
  • Number of students
  • Number of common schools
  • Number of students
  • Remarks

How to Use the Records

To begin your search you will need to know

  • The name of your ancestor
  • The county of residence

Search the Collection

To search the collection 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.

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.

  • The records are brief so it is easy to confuse individuals.

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.
  • Use the ages and place of residence to locate the family in federal census records.
  • Use the race information to find records related to that ethnicity such as records of the Freedman’s Bureau.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • If they are in the militia they may have military files in the State or National Archives.
  • 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.

Unable to Find Your Ancestor?

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for nicknames and abbreviated names.
  • Search the records of nearby counties.
  • Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals with the same family number.
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Don't overlook FHL Keyword Illinois items or FHL Place United States, Illinois items in the FamilySearch Library Catalog. For other libraries (local and national) or to gain access to items of interest, see Illinois Archives and Libraries.

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Contributions to This Article

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Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. 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.


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.

"Illinois, State Census, 1855." Index. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing Secretary of State. State Archives, Springville.

 

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  • This page was last modified on 25 June 2014, at 20:44.
  • This page has been accessed 8,282 times.