Colorado, State Census, 1885 (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: Colorado State Census, 1885 .

Contents

Collection Time Period

These records cover the inhabitants of Colorado in 1885.

Record Description

The records are handwritten on pre-printed pages with rows and columns.

Record Content

The following information is listed in the population schedule:

Colorado 1885 Census DGS AR-M355N 20100310 125623-2.jpg
  • Street name
  • House number
  • Full name of each member of household
  • Race
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Relationship to the head of household
  • Marital Status
  • Occupation or number of months unemployed in the previous year 
  • Disabilities
  • If attended school within the past year
  • If they can read, write, and speak English
  • Place of birth
  • Father's birth place
  • Mother's birth place

How to Use the Records

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. 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.
  • Birth places can tell you former residences and can help to establish a migration pattern for the 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.
  • 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.”

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.

You should also be aware that 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)

Record History

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.

Population Schedule

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.

Mortality Schedule

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.

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

Why the 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.

Record Reliability

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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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.

Example of a Source Citation for a Record Found in This Collection

Use the following template when creating a citation for your findings. Replace the brackets and information within the brackets with the appropriate information from your record.

Citation Template

[[FamilySearch Collection title]],” database and digital images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org: [[Publication date]]), [[Principal name]], [[Birth year]]; from [[Original Collection Title]], vol. [[Add volume number]], p. [[Page number]], no. [[Line number]], [[Archive name]], [[Archive location]]; FHL microfilm [[GS number of the record]].

Example

"Colorado Census, 1885." index and images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org): accessed March 18, 2011. entry for George Lewis, age 28; citing Census Records Mesa, 1, Populated, Image 7; National Archives and Records Administration, District of Columbia.

Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the data and images published on FamilySearch.org Historical Records. It may include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.

Colorado State Census, 1885, images, FamilySearch; (http://familysearch.org); from National Archives and Records Administration, District of Columbia. FHL microfilm, 8 rolls. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Information about creating source citations for FamilySearch Historical Collections is listed in the wiki article Help:How to Create Source Citations For FamilySearch Historical Records Collections.


 

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