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United States Census, 1820 - FamilySearch Historical Records

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United States Census, 1820
CID1803955
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.

United States
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Flag of the United States of America
NARA logo circular black on white.jpg
National Archives and Records Administration Logo
Record Description
Record Type Census Population Schedules
Record Group RG 29: Records of the Bureau of the Census
Collection years 1820
Microfilm Publication M33. Fourth census of the United States, 1820. 142 rolls.
Arrangement Alphabetical by state, by county, by city, township.
National Archives Identifier 2353535
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
National Archives and Records Administration



What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]

The collection consists of an index to the population schedules listing the inhabitants of the United States taken August 7, 1820. The schedules are from NARA microfilm publication M33 Fourth census of the United States,1820 and is from Record Group 29 Records of the Bureau of the Census. No schedules are known to exist for New Jersey. Index provided by Ancestry.com.

To Browse This Collection[edit | edit source]

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for United States Census, 1820.

Collection Content[edit | edit source]

Sample Image[edit | edit source]

What Can This Collection Tell Me?[edit | edit source]

The 1820 census includes the following information:

  • Township, county and state where census was taken
  • Name of head of household
  • Number of free white males and females under age 10
  • Number of free white males and females between ages 10-16
  • Number of free white males and females between ages 16-26
  • Number of free white males and females between ages 26-45
  • Number of free white males and females over the age of 45

How Do I Search This Collection?[edit | edit source]

To begin your search it would be helpful to know:

  • The name of your ancestor.
  • The approximate age of your ancestor.
  • The state where your ancestor lived.

Search the Index[edit | edit source]

Search by name by visiting the Collection Details Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes in the Search Collection section with the information you know
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

View the Images[edit | edit source]

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page

  1. Select State
  2. Select County
  3. Select Township to view the images.

Keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names, or variations of their name, throughout their life.
  • If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names.
  • Even though these indexes are very accurate they may still contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

Note: The phrase "Not Stated" indicates the information wasn't present in the census.

How Do I Analyze the Results?[edit | edit source]

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?[edit | edit source]

When you have located your ancestor’s census record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. Save a copy of the image or transcribe the information. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details. Add this new information to your records of each family. You should also look for leads to other records about your ancestors.

I Found Who I Was Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Use the age categories to determine an approximate birth date range.
  • Use the residence to locate other records such as land, probate, tax, and church records.
  • Continue to search the index and records to identify other relatives.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
  • You may need to compare the information of more than one family or person to make this determination.
  • Be aware that, as with any index, transcription errors may occur.

I Can't Find Who I'm Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for alias names, nicknames and abbreviated names.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby localities.
  • Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals that may be your ancestor.
  • There is also the possibility that a family was missed in the census.

General Information About These Records[edit | edit source]

Federal census takers were asked to record information about every person who was in each household on the census day, which was the first Monday in August for 1820. A census taker might have visited a house on a later date, but the information he collected was supposed to be about the people who were in the house on the census day. The basic census enumeration unit was the county. Each county was divided into enumeration districts, one for each enumerator. The completed forms were sent to the Commerce Department’s Census Office in Washington, D.C.

Federal censuses are usually reliable, depending on the knowledge of the informant and the care of the census enumerator. Information may have been given to a census taker by any member of the family or by a neighbor. Some information may have been incorrect or deliberately falsified.

Population schedules consisted of large sheets with rows and columns. The schedules were arranged by place, such as township or post office. The places were not filed in any particular order. The arrangement of families on a schedule is normally in the order in which the enumerator visited the households. The original schedules are well preserved at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. They were microfilmed in the 1950s and 1960s. The schedules for some counties in varying censuses are missing.

Known Issues With This Collection[edit | edit source]

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Citing This Collection[edit | edit source]

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation
Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation can be viewed by clicking the drop-down arrow next to Document Information.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

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How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?[edit | edit source]

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Historical Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.