Alabama State Census, 1866 (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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Collection Time Period
These records cover individuals living in Alabama in 1866.
The records are handwritten on preprinted forms. This census has strategic value because it was the first post-Civil War census taken in Alabama. In many of the counties information is given about former slaves and soldiers. It does not specify whether the soldiers were Union or Confederate. The same form was not used in every county so it may or may not list this information.
The census generally includes the following information:
- Name of the head of household
- Number of persons in each family
- Relationship to head of household
- May list number of deceased or disabled soldiers in the family
- May list former slaves
How to Use the Record
Begin your search by finding your ancestors in the census index. Use the locator information in the index (such as page number or family number) to locate your ancestors in the census. Some on-line indexes, such as indexes to FamilySearch Historical Records, will take you directly to an image. Compare the information in the census to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to compare the information of more than one family or person to make this determination. Be aware that as with any index, transcription errors may occur.
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.
- If they are subject to military service 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.
Some other helpful tips to keep in mind are:
- 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.
For a summary of this information see the wiki article: United States, How to Use the Records Summary (FamilySearch Historical Records)
The State of Alabama conducted state censuses in the following years: 1818 (partial), 1820, (partial), 1821 (partial), 1823, 1850, 1855, 1866, 1907.
Why this Record Was Created
The census was compiled to obtain a count of the population of the state to determine how many representatives the state would send to Congress.
The information is generally reliable. However use the information with some caution, since the information 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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Contributions to This Article
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Sources of Information for This Collection
“Alabama State Census, 1866 (10-0763),” database, FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org/); from the Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery. FHL microfilm, 8 reels, Family History Library Salt Lake City, Utah.
Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
When you copy information from a record, you should also 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.
A suggested format for citing FamilySearch Historical Collections, including how to cite individual archives is found in the following link: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections
Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection
- United States. Bureau of the Census. 12th census, 1900, digital images, From FamilySearch Internet (www.familysearch.org: September 29, 2006), Arizona Territory, Maricopa, Township 1, East Gila, Salt River Base and Meridian; sheet 9B, line 71
- Mexico, Distrito Federal, Catholic Church Records, 1886-1933, digital images, from FamilySearch Internet (www.familysearch.org: April 22, 2010), Baptism of Adolfo Fernandez Jimenez, 1 Feb. 1910, San Pedro Apóstol, Cuahimalpa, Distrito Federal, Mexico, film number 0227023
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