New Jersey, State Census, 1885 (FamilySearch Historical Records)
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Access the records: New Jersey State Census, 1885 .
This census covers the residents of New Jersey in 1885.
The census is a printed form that was filled in by hand by the enumerator. It is arranged by county and by township within each county.
Some records may be missing, including Jersey City (Hudson County) records from Family History Library film numbers 888618, 888619, 888620, 888621 and 888622.
The state of New Jersey took a state census every 10 years beginning in 1855 and continuing through 1915. However, the 1885 census is the first to survive in its entirety.
The census was compiled to obtain a count of the population of the state to determine how many representatives the state would send to Congress.
The information is generally reliable. However use the information with some caution, since the 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.
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.
- New Jersey State Census 1885. New Jersey Department of State, Division of Archives and Record Management, Trenton, New Jersey.
Key genealogical facts found in the 1885 New Jersey State Census generally include the following:
- First Name
- Last Name
- Place of birth
- Father's Birth Place
- Mother's Birth Place
How to Use the Record
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. 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. For example:
- Use the age listed to determine an approximate birth date.
- Use the race information to find records related to that ethnicity such as records of the Freedman’s Bureau of Indian censuses.
- If they are foreign born, look for immigration and naturalization records.
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.
You should also be aware that 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)
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Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
When you copy information from a record, you should also 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.