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Finding family members in the census, then verify them in vital records online.

Contents

Find other family members of Your Ancestor in the United States Census, 1850-1940

Census indexes can help you locate your ancestors. People were listed in national, state and territorial census records. The national census was done every ten years. State censuses were often done five years after the national census. Most census records are available online.

Step 1. Search for your ancestor in a census record

Search in the United States Census collection at: www.FamilySearch.org (free).

- Use the ancestor's name, birth year and birth place for a successful search.

Tips for success:

  • Always look at the original record, not just the index or transcript.
  • Find your ancestor in each available census.
  • If you don't find the person in the census nearest their birth try one near their marriage or death.
  • If you only have initials for one parent's given name try searching by the other parent's given name.


- Click on the links below to search the record group:

U.S. Census Records
1850 U.S. Census 1880 U.S. Census 1920 U.S. Census
1860 U.S. Census 1900 U.S. Census 1930 U.S. Census
1870 U.S. Census 1910 U.S. Census 1940 U.S. Census



Step 2. Verify the census information with a comparison of another census year's information.

Find your ancestor in each consecutive census. As you compare the information on each record, it will verify you are tracing the correct family of your ancestor. 


Step 3. Search vital record online collections to verify and collect addtional information to your findings in the census.

Search www.FamilySearch.org in the state collections that apply to your family. 

Search other websites at your local Family History Center for vital record information. Start with www.ancestryinstitution.com .


Step 4. Compare what you found with information in FamilySearch Family Tree

Search for the new names found in other records.
Check for and merge any duplicates found.
Connect any individuals or families to your family.