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Using Census Records for Genealogy

Deep-dive into US census records and other population counts. From helpful research resources to clues about solving ancestor mysteries, our experts provide solutions to your toughest census conundrums.

 

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Official US Census Dates

 

The date a census taker wrote on his form isn’t as important as the official census date: Enumerators were supposed to list individuals’ ages as of a date specified by the Census Bureau. January 1 was “Census Day” for the 1920 enumeration, so someone born Feb. 12, 1909, should be recorded as 10 on the census form—even if the census taker visited in April. This magic date varied, so use this chart to sort out ancestors’ reported ages. Click on the year to discover more about that specific census (if available).

 

August 2

August 4

August 6

August 7

June 1

June 1

June 1

June 1

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