Ventura County Genealogical Society
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1.  
Once your home resources have been exhausted, the census is the best place to start expanding your research
2.  
The first federal census was taken in 1790, and is taken every 10 years on an established day.
3.  
A census is an official count of the population living in the United States on a designated day set at intervals. The census places an ancestor is a specific place at a specific time.
4.  
Begin with the most recent census (1940) and work backwards.
5.  
A census is closed to the public for 72 years after it is taken.
6.  
Before 1790 you can use Tax Lists and other local lists that might have been compiled according to the state you are researching in.
7.  
The 1890 census was destroyed but many groups are now gathering other data to fill in this gap.
8.  
When you're doing census, be sure to look at 10-20 families before and after the family you are researching. These folks are the friends and neighbors (and family) of your ancestor. Families do not live alone!
9.  
If you find your ancestor as the last person on the census page, make sure you check the next page for more information.
10.  
In addition to the federal census population count, there are a number of special censuses: Slave, Industry & Manufacturing, Agriculture, Mortality, Social Statistics, Union Veteran & Widow, Defective, Dependent & Delinquent.
11.  
Many states took their own census. This was done between the federal censuses, often on years ending in 5.
12.  
New York State took a state census in the years: 1790 (Albany County), 1825, 1835, 1845, 1855, 1865, 1875, 1892, 1905, 1915 and 1925.
13.  
Prepare a census timeline before you begin. Review what you will find in the census you are searching. Expect spelling and age variations.
14.  
When copying census information, copy EVERYTHING EXACTLY AS IT IS WRITTEN! This is the way it was written, leave it alone!
15.  
Don't assume that all information in the census is correct. It's only as good as the knowledge of the person reporting it.
16.  
Don't assume that all children listed belong to the wife listed. This may be a second wife, and the children a combination of his and hers.
17.  
When the head of the household is no longer listed, don't assume he/she is dead. The person could be living with one of the children.
18.  
A person may not have been living on the day the census was actually taken (not the official day). However, all information is to be as of the official census day.
19.  
The State of Connecticut held state census in the following years: 1636, 1709, 1756, 1762, 1774 and 1821.
20.  
Starting in 1880, an Enumeration District consisted of not more than 4,000 persons assigned to one enumerator, or census taker.
21.  
The state of Arizona conducted a state census in: 1864, 1866, 1867, 1869, 1872, 1874, 1876, 1880, 1882.
22.  
Florida conducted a state census in the years of: 1867, 1875, 1885, 1935 and 1945.
23.  
Nebraska held a state census in the following years: 1855 and 1885.
24.  
The Michigan 1810 Territorial Census Records are missing. Michigan held state census in the years of: 1854, 1864, 1874, 1884 and 1904.
25.  
The state of Minnesota conducted a state census in the following years: 1849, 1850, 1853, 1855, 1857, 1865, 1875, 1885, 1895 and 1905.
26.  
Massachusetts conducted a state census in: 1855 and 1865.
27.  
Rhode Island conducted a state census in: 1774 (Colonial census), 1777 (Military census), 1782, 1865, 1875, 1885, 1905, 1915, 1925 and 1935.
28.  
New Jersey conducted state census in: 1855, 1865, 1875, 1885, 1895, 1905 and 1915.
29.  
California conducted a state-wide census in 1852, but it is highly damaged.
30.  
Census records were generated by enumerators. Some who had very bad handwriting.
31.  
More than one generation may be listed in a household.