Federal census records are so rich with personal details—names, ages, birthplaces, relationships—it’s easy to overlook another genealogical use for all that data. Censuses also can tell you a lot about the community and society your ancestors lived in: whether your rural kin had easy access to schools, for example, or how many free African-Americans lived in your family’s hometown in 1840.
1. The home page offers three options: You can choose a census year, select a type of data (such as population or education and literacy) to view statistics over a range of census years, or create a map of select data. We’ll start by looking for areas with females age 5 to 18 in the 1870 census. On the home page, click 1870.
- General Population
- Ethnicity/Race/Place of Birth
- Education and Literacy
- Churches and Religion
3. The resulting chart shows you the number of 5- to 18-year-old girls living in each state and territory. Select a state, then scroll down and hit the Retrieve County-Level Data button to see a county-by-county breakdown. (Note: Checking All States will generate county-level totals for the entire United States.)
6. The site generates a chart listing the number of Hungarians in each state for all specified census years.
9. Again, click Map It! next to any census year to generate a state map of the data. In 1920, you can see the heaviest concentration of Ohio Hungarians lived in two northeastern counties. If you can’t find your Hungarian ancestors in the early 1900s, Cleveland would be a good place to begin looking.
Stats to Search For
Select a census year and a national background to see where people with your ethnic roots settled.
For the 1850 to 1870 censuses, choose the Churches & Religions category to locate pockets of particular denominations.
Pick Agriculture to map farms by size, value and in some years, ethnic background (“Total Farms of Negroes and Other Non-Whites” for 1910 to 1950, for instance).