- 1 Existing and lost censuses
- 2 Availability
- 3 Historical Background
- 4 Indexes
- 5 Special Censuses
- 6 Colonial and State Censuses
- 7 Territorial Censuses
- 8 Web Sites
- 9 References
Existing and lost censuses
For a list of available and missing Pennsylvania censuses, click here.
1790-1930--The U.S. federal censuses of Pennsylvania are available.
1860 United States Census—A free Internet index and images to the 1860 United States Census can be viewed on the FamilySearch Record Search – Pilot Site. This index includes every name listed on the census and is linked to an image including information about each person’s residence and age in 1860, birthplace, occupation, other family members, whether married or single, and neighbors.
1870 Philadelphia--There were two enumerations for Philadelphia in 1870.
1870 United States Census---A free internet index and images can be viewed on FamilySearch Record Pilot site. This index includes the full name, age, sex, race, birthplace, occupation, month if born in census year, month if married in census year, birth place of father and mother, if born in a foreign country.
1880 United States Census– A Free Internet Index and Images to the US Census can be viewed on the Family Search Record Pilot – Pilot Site. This index includes an every name index to population schedules listing inhabitants. It includes the full name, race, sex, age, birth month (if born during the previous year), relationship to head of household, whether married, single or divorced, whether married during the previous year, country or state of birth of each person and his parent’s, occupation and street address and house number.
1890 Census--The 1890 census was destroyed, but this is available:
- United States. Census Office. 11th Census, 1890. Schedules Enumerating Union Veterans and Widows of Union Veterans of the Civil War. (Family History Library films 338160-277, Pennsylvania is on films 338237-50.)
1900 Federal Census - A free Internet index and images to the 1900 United States Census can be viewed on the FamilySearch Record Search – Pilot Site. Important additions to this census are month and year of birth of each household member, number of years married for each married person, number of children born to each mother and the number of those still living, year of immigration, and number of years in the United States.
1790-1850--Statewide indexes are available for the 1790, 1800, 1810, 1820, 1830, 1840, and 1850 censuses in book and microfiche format.
1860-1870--The 1860 and 1870 indexes are available in book and compact disc formats. The 1860 book indexes are divided into five sets: East, Central, West, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh (Butler and Allegheny counties). The 1870 indexes are divided into Pennsylvania East, Central, West, and Philadelphia.
Soundex--Soundex (phonetic) indexes are available for part of the 1880 census and all of the 1900, 1910, and 1920 censuses.
1910 Philadelphia County--Philadelphia County is indexed separately in 1910.
1850-1870 Pittsburgh and Allegheny City--An alphabetical transcript of Pittsburgh and Allegheny City is on microfilm for the 1850, 1860, and 1870 censuses.
When indexes are not available or omit a name, you can still look for the name in the census. In large cities it helps to first learn the person's address by searching the city directory for the same year (or the year before and after) as the census. Then look for that address on the original census schedules. If the address is not on the census, as is the case in the earlier censuses, look for the address on a ward map to identify the ward and search every name on the census for that ward.
These reference tools help determine which census schedule microfilm and enumeration district to search for specific addresses:
- Kirkham, E. Kay. A Handy Guide to Record- Searching in the Larger Cities of the United States. Logan, Utah: Everton, 1974. (Family History Library fiche 6010059-60.) Includes ward maps and street indexes for:
- Harrisburg 1878
- Philadelphia 1850-1855, 1860, and 1878
- Scranton 1878
- Williamsport 1878.
Census Descriptions of Geographic Subdivisions and Enumerations Districts.
- 1880 Missing Pennsylvania descriptions
- 1900 Family History Libraryfilm 1303026
- 1910 Family History Library film 1374010
- 1920 Family History Library film 1842717
- United States. Bureau of the Census. Cross Index to Selected City Streets and Enumeration Districts, 1910 Census. Washington, D.C.: National Archives, . (51 Family History Library fiche 6331481.) Lists street addresses of Erie (after Elizabeth, New Jersey) on fiche 19, Philadelphia on fiche 38-42, and Reading on fiche 43 (after Phoenix, Arizona) with corresponding census enumeration districts.
- Jackson, Ronald Vern. AIS Microfiche Indexes of U.S. Census and Other Records. Bountiful, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1984. (No Family History Library fiche number but available at many Family History Centers.) Pennsylvania census indexes for 1790, 1800, and 1810 are combined on Search 1. A composite mortality schedule index for 1850, 1860, and 1870 is on Search 8. Separate indexes for Pennsylvania 1820, 1830, 1840, and 1850 are on other searches.
1850-1880--Mortality schedules (lists of persons who died in the 12 months prior to the census) were taken with the 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880 censuses. They are on microfilm at the Family History Library and the National Archives. The originals are at the State Library of Pennsylvania. The 1850 and 1860 schedules have also been published. The 1850, 1860, and 1870 mortality schedules are indexed.
An important source for potentially valuable historical information about farmers is the Agriculture schedule. These records list the name of the farmer and include details on farm implements, livestock, and crops.
- United States, Census Office, Nonpopulation Census Schedules for Pennsylvania; Agricultural Schedules, 1850-1880 (Family History Library films 1602240-301).
The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission has the 1850 Pennsylvania agricultural census online 1850 images. From their home page, http://www.phmc.state.pa.us go to Research > Agricultural History Project > Agricultural Census Information.
The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission has the 1880 Pennsylvania agricultural census online 1880 images. From their home page, http://www.phmc.state.pa.us go to Research > Agricultural History Project > Agricultural Census Information.
Also potentially helpful is the Manufacturers schedule (on 21 Family History Library films beginning with 1578849). These schedules contain the names of owners and details about their business or firm. If an individual is listed in the population census with an occupation involving manufacturing, such as a blacksmith, shoe maker, barrel maker, etc., details about the business or firm may be given in this census.
- United States, Census Office, Nonpopulation Census Schedules for Pennsylvania; Manufacturers Schedules 1850-1880.
Products of Industry in Pennsylvania
The Family History Library has the Products of Industry schedule. It gives the name of the corporation, company, or individual producing products with an annual value up to $500; name of the business, manufacturer, or product; capital invested in real and personal estate in the business; raw material used; kind of motive power or machinery; average number of hands employed; wages; and annual product.
- United States, Census Office, 8th census, 1860, Schedule 5: Products of Industry in Pennsylvania, 1860 (Famly History Library films 899751-52).
The library also has the Social Statistics schedues, 1850-1870. These censuses give no names, only numbers; the 1880 census gives names of idiots, deaf-mutes, the blind, homeless children, prisoners, paupers, and indigents.
- United States, Census Office, Nonpopulation Census Schedules for Pennsylvania; Social Statistics, 1850-1880 (Family History Library films 1602302-24).
Colonial and State Censuses
There are no colonial censuses for Pennsylvania. See Pennsylvania Taxation for census-like lists of early residents.
Septennial censuses (actually tax lists) were taken every seven years, beginning in 1779 and continuing until 1863. Remaining records are at the State Archives. A Guide to Genealogical Sources at the Pennsylvania State Archives has a list of the available censuses and the information they contain.
Heritage Quest Online: http://www.heritagequestonline.com
Census Online: http://www.census-online.com/links/PA/
Genealogy Today: http://dir.genealogytoday.com/usa/pa/census.html
Access Genealogy: http://www.accessgenealogy.com/census/pennsylvania.htm
Mortality Schedules: http://mortalityschedules.com/
ReferencesPennsylvania Research Outline. Salt Lake City, Utah: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., Family History Department, 1998, 2006.