Colorado, State Census, 1885 (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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Access the records: Colorado State Census, 1885 .
The collection consists of a name index and images of population schedules listing the inhabitants of the state of Colorado. The 1885 census was taken with the assistance of the United States Government. The records are handwritten on pre-printed pages with rows and columns. Not all counties are available.
Counties Included in This Census
Araphoe, Archuleta, Bent Boulder, Chaffee, Clear Creek, Conejos, Costilla, Custer, Delta, Dolores, Eagle, Elbert, El Paso, Gilpin, Grand, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Huerfano, Jefferson, Lake, La Plata, Larimer, Las Amimas, Mesa, Montrose, Ouray, Park, Pitkin, Pueblo, Rio Grande, Routt, Saguache, San Juan, San Miguel, Summit, Weld.
For a list of records by date or locality currently published in this collection, select the Browse link from the collection landing page.
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.
- National Archives and Records Administration. Central Plains Region. Colorado State Census 1885. National Archives and Records Administration, Central Plains Region, Kansas City.
The following information is listed in the population schedule:
- Street name
- House number
- Full name of each member of household
- Relationship to the head of household
- Marital Status
- Profession or occupation
- If attended school within the past year
- If person can read, write, and speak English
- Person's place of birth
- Father's birth place
- Mother's birth place
How to Use the Records
To begin your search you need to know the name and other identifying information such as their age or the names of other members of the household.
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 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 compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor.
To search the collection image by image follow this series of links:
⇒Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒Select the "County"
⇒Select the "Town or Enumeration District Number"
⇒Select the "Schedule" 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.
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.
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 other types of records such as employment or school records; children’s occupations are often listed as “at school.”
- Birth places can tell you former residences and can help to establish a migration pattern for the family.
- 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.
- You should also be aware that the census may identify persons for whom other records do not exist.
Unable to Find Your Ancestor?
- Check for variant spellings of the names.
- Look for a different index. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records.
- Search the records of nearby localities.
General Information About This Census
On June 1, 1885 a special federal census of Colorado was taken. The 1885 census included four general schedules: population, agriculture, manufactures, and mortality. These schedules are organized alphabetically by county and thereunder by the number assigned to each type of schedule. Within each type of schedule the records are arranged by enumeration district.
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.
For a summary of this information see the wiki article: United States, How to Use the Records Summary (FamilySearch Historical Records)
The 1885 population schedule resembles a typical census schedule and can provide valuable information that can be used to fill the gap caused by the loss of the 1890 federal census in the 1921 Department of Commerce fire.
The 1885 mortality schedule enumerated all individuals who died between June 1, 1884, and May 31, 1885. This schedule was to include individuals who died within the district, even if they had no family in the district, and individuals who died outside the district but had family within the district.
- 1885 Colorado State Census: Arapahoe County
- 1885 Delta County Colorado Census Index
- Colorado and Indian Census Records at the Colorado State Archives
- Colorado State Census, 1885
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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.
A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.
Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection
"Colorado, State Census, 1885," images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-14766-13985-22?cc=1807096&wc=7165528; accessed 15 May, 2012), Mesa > 1 > Population > Image 7 of 16 images, George Lewis; citing State Census, Colorado Census Bureau, Colorado State Archives, Denver, Co.
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