Illinois, State Census, 1855 (FamilySearch Historical Records)

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

United States Gotoarrow.png Illinois

Access the Records
Illinois State Census, 1855 .
CID1803969
{{{CID2}}}
{{{CID3}}}
{{{CID4}}}
{{{CID5}}}
{{{CID6}}}
{{{CID7}}}
{{{CID8}}}
{{{CID9}}}
This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Illinois, United States
Illinois flag.png
Flag of Illinois
US Locator Illinois.png
Location of Illinois
Record Description
Record Type State Census
Collection years 1855
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites



What is in the Collection?

The collection consists of name indexes for the Illinois State Census taken in 1855.

The information was handwritten on preprinted sheets. Schedules do not exist for the following counties:

  • Carroll
  • Champaign
  • Franklin
  • Gallatin
  • Henry
  • Jefferson
  • Jo Daviess
  • Lake
  • Stark
  • Will
  • Woodford

Jo Daviess County returns for the 1855 are found in the Ancestry "Illinois, State Census Collection, 1825-1865".

Microfilm copies of original records are available at the Family History Library and at family history centers.

The state constitution of 1848 accepted the federal decennial censuses as the basis for apportionment of representatives, but also provided for state censuses at mid-decades. As a result state censuses were conducted in 1855 and 1865. The state constitution of 1870 ended the practice of state censuses. Census returns for 1855 exist for 90 of the 100 counties.

This census counted and gathered information about the population in 1855

The census was compiled to obtain a count of the population to determine how many representatives the state would send to Congress.

Reliability of the information in the census is determined by the accuracy of the knowledge of the informant, which could have been any member of the family or even a neighbor.

Collection Content

The census includes the following information:

  • Name of head of family
  • Free white males by decennial age ranges; under 10, 10 to 20, 20 to 30, 30 to 40, etc.
  • Free white females by decennial age ranges; under 10, 10 to 20, 20 to 30, 30 to 40, etc.
  • Numbers of male and female Negros and mulattoes
  • Total number in household
  • Number of males eligible for duty in the militia
  • Manufactories by type (for example: mill, tin shop, saddle shop) and their value
  • Value of products of coal mines
  • Value of live stock
  • Number of pounds of wool
  • Number of colleges
  • Number of students
  • Number of common schools
  • Number of students
  • Remarks

How Do I Search the Collection?

To begin your search you will need to know

  • The name of your ancestor
  • Identifying information such as the county of residence

Search by Name by visiting the Collection Page:
Fill in the requested information on the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the individuals 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. Keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names, or variations of their name, throughout their life.
  • If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names.
  • Even though these indexes are very accurate they may still contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line article [FamilySearch Tips and Tricks].

I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?

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.
  • Use the ages and place of residence to locate the family in federal census records.
  • Use the race information to find records related to that ethnicity such as records of the Freedman’s Bureau.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • If they are in the militia 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.
  • 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.

I Can't Find Who I'm Looking for, What Now?

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for nicknames and abbreviated names.
  • Search the records of nearby counties.
  • Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals with the same family number.


Citing this Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.

Collection Citation:

"Illinois State Census, 1855." Database. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing Secretary of State. State Archives, Springville.


Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

The citation for a record is available with each record in this collection, at the bottom of the record screen. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for Illinois State Census, 1855.

How You Can Contribute

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.