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To meet the needs of the 1 960 Census, the Census Bureau obtained two new 1 1 05 computers in October and December, 1959. As a result of a cooperative agreement between the Census Bureau and the University of North Carolina and the Armour Research Foundation of the Illinois Institute of Technology, a UNIVAC 1 105 was installed at each university that was compatible with those housed at the Census Bureau. Each university allocated two-thirds of the "productive" time on its computers to the census, with additional time (in lesser amount) being afforded the Census Bureau upon completion of the 1960 Census processing.

The Census Bureau also employed the film optical sensing device for input to computers (FOSDIC). The FOSDIC scanned microfilm copies of appropriately designed questionnaires, read the marks entered by enumerators, and transcribed the information to reels of magnetic tape readable by computer. When installed on the computers, the data on these tapes were reviewed, tabulated, and finally transferred to other tapes used by high speed printers2—speeding the compilation of census data and making the hiring and training of 2,000 people dedicated to the manual preparation of punch cards obsolete.

2High-speed printers received data for printing from the magnetic tape reels created by the electronic computers. Data represented by the magnetized "spots" on the tape were printed as tabulations (600 lines per minute) which could be photographed and reproduced by the offset printing process.

Microfilm. In most cases, census schedules and questionnaires were microfilmed many years after they originated, by which time the ink often had faded and the pages were brittle. To save valuable storage space after filming, the paper copies were destroyed or (as was the case with the 1 880 census) offered to state archives. While schedules from the period from 1 790 to 1 880 usually were stored flat in binders secured by cloth tape, later ones, such as the 1 890 through 1 920, were bound for safekeeping and ready use (for age search, etc.) in large volumes. When microfilming began around 1940, it was impractical to remove and rebind the pages in those volumes, so they were photographed in place. The pages were turned for filming, and their legibility, poor at best, sometimes was reduced even further by the camera's inability to focus on the curved surfaces of some pages.

For the years beginning in 1 890, when punch card tabulation came into use, clerks used red ink to add alphabetical or numerical codes in certain schedule columns (such as the one for veteran status) for the keypunch operators' guidance. These codes represent occupation, number of persons in the household, and the like information already appearing on the schedule. As the microfilm is only in black and white, this color cannot be distinguished. The reader should recognize and ignore these codes as extraneous when transcribing or interpreting what appears on the film.

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Figure 1.

Census Microfilm Publication and Roll Numbers

(A dash (—) in the column means that no census was taken or Soundex prepared. "No" in the column means that the census was taken, but no manuscript copies are known to exist)

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Census Microfilm Publication and Roll Numbers—Con.

(A dash (—) in the column means that no census was taken or Soundex prepared. "No" in the column means that the census was taken, but no manuscript copies are known to exist)

[table][merged small][merged small]

Figure 1.

Census Microfilm Publication and Roll Numbers—Con.

(A dash (—) in the column means that no census was taken or Soundex prepared. "No" in the column means that the census was

taken, but no manuscript copies are known to exist)


1. Extant part in State Department Archives and History, Montgomery, AL.

2. 1864 territorial census schedules are in the custody of the Secretary of State, Phoenix, AZ; Those for 1866, 1867, and 1869 are at the National Archives.

3. See reconstruction in Leon de Valinger, Reconstructed 1790 Census of Delaware, Genealogical Publications of the National Genealogical Society, Vol. 10, Washington, DC, 1954.

4. Schedules for Ogelthorpe County are in the Georgia Department of Archives and History, Atlanta, GA.

5. Schedules for Randolph County are in the Illinois State Library, Springfield, IL.

6. See reconstruction in Charles Brunk Heinermann and Gaius Marcus Brumbaugh, First Census of Kentucky, 1790, Washington, DC, 1940.

7. See reconstruction in Garrett Glenn Clift, comp., Second Census of Kentucky, 1800, Frankfurt, KY, 1954.

8. County tax lists for 1783 exist on microfilm.

9. 1885 Dakota Territory census schedules are at the State Historical Society Library, Bismark, ND.

10. 1890 territorial census records are at the Oklahoma Historical Society Library, Oklahoma City, OK.

11. 1885 Dakota Territory census schedules are in the State Historical Society Library, Bismark, ND.

12. See reconstruction in Pollyanna Creekmore, Early East Tennessee Tax Payers, The East Tennessee Historical Society Publications 23, 24, 26, 27, 28, 30, and 31 (1951-1959).

13. See also Compilation of Tennessee Census Reports, 1820 (microfilm publication T911, 1 roll).

14. The Texas State Archives, Austin, TX, has extant Texas census schedules for 1829-1836, reprinted in Marion Day Mullins, "The First Census of Texas, 1829-1836," National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 40, No. 49 (June 1952) and following.

15. Schedules for Accomack County only in the Virginia State Library, Richmond, VA. 16. Overseas.


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The 1930 census and all existing soundex indexes will become available after April 1, 2002, at the National Archives in Washington, DC, and its thirteen regional facilities. Indexes using the soundex indexing system will be available for the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky (Bell, Floyd, Harlan, Kenton, Muhlenberg, Perry, and Pike counties only), Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia (Fayette, Harrison, Kanawha, Logan, McDowell, Mercer, and Raleigh counties only). Additional information about the 1930 census records, soundex index, and ordering information will be available from the National Archives after April 1, 2002.


All decennial census schedules are arranged geographically, not by name, so an address or an index generally is necessary to find a particular record. In 1 908, the U.S. Census Bureau prepared a 1 2-volume work entitled Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1790 [state] that reproduces the completed 1 790 schedules in printed form with indexes. Various individuals and organizations have compiled alphabetical indexes for 1 9th century censuses, generally through 1 870, and these can be found in many libraries and genealogical collections. There are SOUNDEX or MIRACODE indexes for 1 880 (only households with children 1 0 years of age or younger), 1 900, 1 91 0 (21 states only, mainly in the South), and 1 920. These indexes, based on the sound of the surname, originally were prepared to assist the Census Bureau in finding records for persons who needed official proof of age from a period before all states had a uniform system of registering births. There is a separate index for each of the above years for each state or territory. The U.S. Census Bureau also created an index for selected cities in the 1910 census that translates specific street addresses into the appropriate enumeration district number and corresponding volume number of the schedules.

The 1840 Census. This census included a special enumeration of military pensioners. The names and ages listed were printed in A Census of Pensioners for Revolutionary or Military Services; With Their Names, Ages, Places of Residence, Washington, DC: Department of State, 1841 (reprinted by the Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, MD, in 1967) and reproduced at the end of roll 3 in National Archives microfilm publication T498.

The 1885 Census. Five states and territories chose to take an 1 885 census with federal assistance. The schedules show the same type of information as those for 1 880, but in many cases the initial letters of enumerated persons' given names appear instead for the names themselves. The relevant National Archives microfilm publication numbers are as follows:

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The 1890 Records. The majority of 1 890 census records were destroyed as a result of a fire in January 1921. The smoke, water, and other damage to the bound volumes was such that only fragments remained to be microfilmed in later years. The surviving records are available on three rolls, National Archives Publication M407. The three rolls cover the following areas:

1. Alabama. Perry County (Perryville Beat No. 11 and Severe Beat No. 8).

2. District of Columbia. Blocks bounded on the East and West by 1 3th and 1 5th streets, Northwest, on the South by Q Street, and on the North by S Street.

3. Georgia. Muscogee Country (Columbus). Illinois. McDonough County (Mound Twp.). Minnesota. Wright County (Rockford).

New Jersey. Westchester County (Eastchester), Suffolk

County (Brookhaven Twp.).

North Carolina. Gaston County (South Point and River

Bend Twps.), and Cleveland County (Twp. No. 2).

Ohio. Hamilton County (Cincinnati) and Clinton

County (Wayne Twp.).South Dakota. Union County Gef

ferson Twp.).

Texas. Ellis County (J.P. No. 6, Mountain Peak ad Ovilla

Precinct), Hood County (Precinct No. 5), Rusk County

(No. 6 and J.P. No. 7), Trinity County (Trinity town and

Precinct No. 2), and Kaufman County (Kaufman).

A number of the special schedules of Union veterans of the Civil War and their widows were saved, including those for U.S. vessels and Navy yards. These were microfilmed as National Archives Publication Ml 23.

State and Territorial Censuses

In addition to the 1885 censuses discussed above, many states and territories took their own censuses at various times. Some were fairly detailed; others contained little more than counts. They are not within the scope of this document, but they are described in State Censuses: An Annotated Bibliography of Census of Population Taken After the Year 1790 by States and Territories of the United States, prepared by Henry J. Dubester, Library of Congress, Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1948, 73 pages

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