Kentucky CensusEdit This Page
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Existing and lost censuses
For a list of available and missing Kentucky censuses, click here.
United States Censuses 1850-1920—Free Internet census indexes and images to the 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880 (index only), 1900, and 1920 (partial index only) can be viewed on the FamilySearch Record Search. These indexes show every name listed on the census, and except for 1880 and 1920, are also linked to census images including information about each person’s residence, age, birthplace, occupation, other family members, and neighbors.
1810-1930--Kentucky censuses are available on microfilm.
1790--Kentucky census was destroyed.
1800--Kentucky census was destroyed.
1890--Census was destroyed. The 1890 Union veterans schedule and index for most of the state is available.
1790 and 1800--Tax lists have been indexed and published as substitutes for the censuses.
1880--Kentucky = Crittenden County is missing about 1,500 people.
1772--Fincastle County was formed from Botetourt County, Virginia. It included all of the present state of Kentucky and small portions of Virginia and West Virginia.
1774--Harrodsburg was established as the first permanent settlement in Kentucky. Settlements at Boonesboro, St. Asaph, and Danville soon followed. Early settlers received land warrants for their participation in the French and Indian war.
1776--Kentucky County was created from Fincastle County, Virginia. It included the eastern part of present-day Kentucky.
1792--The Commonwealth of Kentucky was admitted to the Union as the 15th state.
1803--Migration through Kentucky, as well as settlement there, increased after the Louisiana Purchase.
1810-1870--Statewide surname indexes for the censuses have been published.
1880-1930--There is a SOUNDEX (phonetic) index on microfilm.
Separate indexes of many Kentucky counties are available for the 1850, 1860, and 1870 censuses.
- Jackson, Ronald Vern. AIS Microfiche Indexes of U.S. Census and Other Records. Bountiful, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1984. (No Family History Library fiche number, but it is available on microfiche at many Family History Centers.) Census indexes for 1790, 1800, and 1810, 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, and 1860 are on searches 1 through 5. There is a composite index for the mortality schedules of 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880 on search 8. For further instructions, see A I S Indexes to U. S. Censuses 1607-1906 (30970).
Reference tools that help determine which census schedule and enumeration district to search for a specific address include:
- Census Descriptions and Geographical Subdivisions and Enumeration Districts. National Archives Microfilm Publications, T1224 and T1210. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Service, 1977–1978. These describe the boundaries of the area covered by each census taker. The films for Kentucky are:
1880 --Family History Library film 1402860
1900-- Family History Library film 1303022
1910-- Family History Library film 1374004
1920 --Family History Library film 1842707
1930-- Family History Library film 2261283
Maps are good tools to use with censuses because of the many boundary changes over the years. A publication that shows county boundary changes during census years in Kentucky is:
- Thorndale,William and William Dollarhide Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790–1920. Baltimore, [Kentucky]: Genealogical Publishing, 1987.
1850-1880--The Kentucky State Archives has mortality schedules, which list persons who died during the 12 months before the federal censuses were taken. In addition to providing the same information about the deceased person that the regular census schedules provided for the living, mortality schedules also state the month of death, cause of death, and the number of days ill.
1850 United States Census Mortality Schedules—A free Internet index and images to the 1850 United States Census Mortality Schedules can be viewed on the FamilySearch Record Search - Pilot Site. Mortality schedules provided nationwide death statistics for the twelve months prior to the 1850 census. Key genealogical facts found on the 1850 mortality schedule are: Name, age, sex, color, married or widowed, birthplace, month of death, occupation, cause of death.
The Family History Library has copies of the schedules:
- United States. Bureau of the Census. Federal Mortality Census Schedules and Related Indexes: Kentucky, 1850; 1860; 1870; 1880. National Archives Microfilm Publications, T0655. Washington, DC: National Archives and Record Service, 1962. (Family History Library films 422419–27.)
1850-1860--Slave schedules list the names of slave owners but do not normally list the names of the slaves. The numbers of slaves, their sex, and their age ranges are given.
1850 United States Census Slave Schedules—A free Internet index and images to the 1850 United States Census Slave Schedules can be viewed on the FamilySearch Record Search – Pilot Site listing each slave owner's name and residence. It also shows the age, gender, and color of the slaves. Slave names are not normally listed.
1840--In the federal census a listing was made of the Revolutionary War veterans, giving their ages, their residences, and the names of the heads of the household. The following indexes are available, listing these veterans for all states:
- A General Index to a Census of Pensioners for Revolutionary or Military Service, 1840. Baltimore, Maryland.: Genealogical Publishing, 1965. (Family History Library fiche 6046771, film 899835.)
- A Census of Pensioners for Revolutionary or Military Service: With Their Names, Ages, and Places of Residence, as Returned by the Marshals of the Several Judicial Districts, Under the Act for Taking the Sixth Census. Washington DC: Printed by Blair and Rives, 1841. (Family History Library film 1064759 item 3.)
For a list of Kentucky pensioners, see:
- Minix, Sharroll K. 1840 Special Federal Census of Kentucky Pensioners of Revolutionary or Military Service. Salyersville, KY: Magoffin County Historical Society, 1983. The names of the pensioners and heads of the household are listed by county.
1890--In the census of Kentucky Union Army veterans of the Civil War, the census enumeration was destroyed for about half of the counties. For the remainder of the census, see:
- United States. Census Office. 11th Census, 1890. Schedules Enumerating Union Veterans and Widows of Union Veterans of the Civil War. National Archives Microfilm Publications, M0123. Washington, DC: National Archives, 1948. (On 118 Family History Library films, beginning with 338160). Family History Library films for Kentucky are 338160–2. Each schedule may contain the following information: the veteran’s name (or if he did not survive, the names of both the widow and her deceased husband); rank; company; regiment or vessel; date of enlistment and discharge; length of service in years, months, and days; post office and address; and disabilities incurred. The schedule also contains remarks necessary for a complete statement of his term of service. Many Confederate veterans were accidentally enumerated.
For an index to the 1890 veterans schedules, see:
- Dilts, Bryan Lee. 1890 Kentucky Census Index of Civil War Veterans or Their Widows. Salt Lake City, Utah: Index Pub., 1984 (Family History Library fiche 6331355). This does not circulate to Family History Centers. This index contains the name of the veteran or his widow, his county of residence, a supervisor’s district, and an enumeration district number.
Many counties took school censuses at various times between 1888 and 1932 (mostly 1895 to 1910). These list every person in the household. As of June 1999 the Family History Library had copies of school censuses from 18 counties, such as:
- Monroe County Kentucky. Clerk of the County Court. School Census, 1893–1903. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1969. (Family History Library film 589661.) This school census lists the children’s name, age, sex, and parents’ names.
Territorial and State Censuses
1787--Kentucky was enumerated with parts of Virginia and West Virginia.
1795--Kentucky took a state census.
1819--Kentucky took a state census for Boone, Campbell, and Kenton Counties.
FamilySearch Record Search has free census indexes and images for 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1900; but indexes only for 1880, and 1920.
- Kentucky Research Outline. Salt Lake City, Utah: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., Family History Department, 1998, 2000.
- 1880 Cenus Index CD Manuel.
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