State Census Secrets
5/2/2011
Don't count on federal enumerations alone for tracking your clan -- follow our guide to find the clues hiding in state censuses.

Many genealogists get hooked because of the federal census: It's ubiquitous, it's indexed, it's online. But once you've been researching for a while, you start lamenting the 10-year gap between census records and curse the missing 1890 returns. It sure would be easier to keep tabs on your clan if those enumerators had visited more often -- and they might have.

State and territorial census records can help you track down your ancestors between or even before the decennial federal enumerations. The records might provide details on ancestral marriages and deaths predating town or county vital records, and even reveal how many bushels of apples your farming forebears harvested. Start tallying up new family finds with this guide to finding and using state censuses.