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Genealogy and Local History Resources

Census Records

Federal Census Records

In the United States, the federal government has conducted an enumeration of the public every 10 years since 1790. In general, from 1790 through 1840, the censuses recorded only the name of the head of household and tabulated the number of males and females in age categories. Since the 1850 census, each person living in the household has been listed separately by name. 

State Census Records

Censuses were taken by the state of Wisconsin from 1836, when it was a territory, until 1905. The 1836, 1838, 1842, 1846, 1847, 1855, 1875, 1885, 1895, and the surviving fragments of the 1865 censuses resemble the early federal censuses, listing only the head of a household by name and summarizing the number of others. The 1905 census was the only state census in Wisconsin to list all the members of a household by name.

Where do we find them?

Federal Census Records

For census records through 1930, HeritageQuest provides an easy way to find census records. See below for 1940 Census.

The Parkside library has a subscription to HeritageQuest, so any computer on campus as access. Offsite, a researcher may access the site if they have a Kenosha or Racine Library card. They will need a pin number provided by their library.

For searching, it is best to start broad, and narrow if you have numerous results. You may print directly from the screen, or download the record to the computer.

State & Territorial Census Records

The Parkside Archives webpage provides links to digitized copies of territorial census records.

We also have state and territorial census records on microfilm, located in the black file cabinet next to the copier.

Census Content by Year

What kind of information can you find in the census record? Early records contain little information, but more questions were added as time went on. Here is a chart of what you can learn through the years:


1790-1840   Head of Household only

1850-1940   Lists every person in residence

1880            More Details on European background

                   Population Schedules can include information on agriculture and mortality

1900-1940   Immigration information

State & Territory

1836-1847   Head of Household only

1855-1895   Head of Household only

1905            Lists every person in residence

Sample Census Record

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