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.



Using US Census Records Self-Study

Learn how to use census records to track your ancestry and build up your family tree in this self-paced, learn on your own (no instructor) online family history course.


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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