United States Census, 1890 (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.
Access the records: United States Census, 1890  and United States Census of Union Veterans and Widows of the Civil War, 1890.
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United States.png

What is in the Collection?

This article describes the surviving population and veteran schedules.

Index and images of the surviving population schedules for 6,160 names exist only for the states of Alabama, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Dakota, and Texas. The schedules are from Record Group 29, Records of the Bureau of the Census and is NARA microfilm publication M407.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for United States Census, 1890.

Index and images of surviving veteran schedules enumerating Union veterans and widows of veterans of the Civil War for the states of Kentucky through Wyoming. Some returns include U.S. Naval Vessels and Navy Yards. The schedules are from Record Group 15, Records of the Veterans Administration and is NARA microfilm publication M123. See also Evangeline Thurber. "The 1890 Census Records of the Veterans of the Union Army" published in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for United States Census of Union Veterans and Widows of the Civil War, 1890.

Collection Content

Information found in this collection may include:

  • State, county and enumeration district where census was taken
  • Date census was taken
  • Full name of head of household
  • Names of all persons living in household
  • Was head of household a participant in the Civil War
  • Relationship of person to head of household
  • Race
  • Gender
  • Age at nearest birthday, if under 1 year, it is given in months
  • Marital status (single, married, widowed or divorced)
  • Married during the census year?
  • Mother of how many children
  • How many are still living
  • Place of birth given for each member of household
  • Birthplace of father of each person
  • Birthplace of mother of each person
  • Number of years having lived in the United States
  • Naturalized citizen?
  • Profession/occupation
  • Able to read, write and speak English
  • Ever been a prisoner, convict, homeless or a pauper

The veterans' and widows' schedules include the following information:

  • State, county and district where census was taken
  • Date census was taken
  • Full name of surviving soldier, sailor, marine, or widow
  • Rank, company, regiment or vessel
  • Date of enlistment
  • Date of discharge
  • Length of service in years, months, and days

How Do I Search the Collection?

To begin your search you will need to know

  • The name of your ancestor
  • Some other identifying information such as age and residence.

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 those in the list to what you already know about your own ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person.

To browse by image:
To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒Select the appropriate "State"
⇒Select the appropriate "County"
⇒Select the appropriate "City or Town" which takes you to the images.

Look at each image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.

With either search 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 Search Tips and Tricks.

What Do I Do Next?

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 estimated birth year 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.
  • Use the military service information to locate their military files in the State or National Archives.

What if I Can't Find Who I'm Looking For?

  • Look for variant spellings of the surnames.
  • Look for another index. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby localities.
  • 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 that may be your ancestor.
  • There is also the possibility that a family was missed in the census.

General Information About These Records

The U.S. federal census was conducted each decade from 1790-present. This information pertains to censuses conducted in 1850, 1860, and 1870.

Federal census takers were asked to record information about all those who were in each household on the census day, which was 1 June. A census taker might have visited a house on a later date, but the information he collected was supposed to be about the people who were in the house on the census day. The basic census enumeration unit was the county. Each county was divided into enumeration districts, one for each enumerator. The completed forms were sent to the Census Office in the Commerce Department in Washington D.C.

The U.S. federal census was taken at the beginning of every decade to apportion the number of representatives that a state could send to the House of Representatives in Congress. In the absence of a national system of vital registration, many vital statistics and personal questions were asked to provide a statistical profile of the nation and its states.

Population schedules consisted of large sheets with rows and columns. The schedules were arranged by place, such as township or post office. The places were not filed in any particular order. The arrangement of families on a schedule is normally in the order in which the enumerator visited the households.

Federal censuses are usually reliable, depending on the knowledge of the informant and the care of the census enumerator. 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.


Known Issues with This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Related Websites

Population Schedules

Veteran Schedules

Related Wiki Articles

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.


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:

"United States Census, 1890." Database with Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing NARA microfilm publication M407. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.

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 United States Census, 1890.

Image Citation:

The image citation is available by clicking on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for United States Census, 1890.

Collection Citation:

"United States Census of Union Veterans and Widows of the Civil War, 1890." Index and Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing NARA microfilm publication M123. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.

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 United States Census of Union Veterans and Widows of the Civil War, 1890.

Image Citation

The image citation is available by clicking on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for United States Census of Union Veterans and Widows of the Civil War, 1890.