Massachusetts State Census, 1855 (FamilySearch Historical Records)
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Access the records: Massachusetts State Census, 1855 .
- 1 Record Description
- 2 Record Content
- 3 How to Use the Records
- 4 Known Issues with This Collection
- 5 Related Websites
- 6 Related Wiki Articles
- 7 Contributions to This Article
- 8 Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
This census was taken beginning June 1, 1855.
The census schedules consisted of large sheets with rows and columns. The schedules were arranged by street in order of visitation. The census schedules are well preserved at the Massachusetts State Archives and they have been microfilmed.
In 1855, the legislature directed that a census be taken on June 1 of that year and every 10 years thereafter. The census schedules were delivered to the State Secretary and eventually sent to the State Archives for safe keeping. The census schedules are well preserved at the Massachusetts State Archives and they have been microfilmed.
For a list of records by localities and dates currently published in this collection, select the Browse.
The state census of Massachusetts was taken in order to enumerate the population for representation purposes.
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.
Citation for This Collection
The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Records collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.
- Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth. Massachusetts State Census, 1855. Massachusetts State Archives, Boston, Massachusetts.
Genealogical information in the census:
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. Some on-line indexes, such as indexes to FamilySearch Historical Records, will take you directly to an image. 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.
- 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.
- 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).
Known Issues with This Collection
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 email@example.com 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 Wiki Articles
Contributions to This Article
| 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. |
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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.
Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection
"Massachusetts, State Census, 1855," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MQW5-NCJ : accessed 22 May 2012), Ellen L Phillips in household of Ebenezer Phillips, Williamsburg, Hampshire, Massachusetts; citing Massachusetts State Census Records, FHL microfilm 000,953,947; Secretary of the Commonwealth, Massachusetts State Archives, Boston Massachusetts, United states.