Source Information

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Septennial Census, 1779-1863 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.
Original data:

Septennial Census Returns, 1779–1863. Box 1026, microfilm, 14 rolls. Records of the House of Representatives. Records of the General Assembly, Record Group 7. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, PA.

About Pennsylvania, Septennial Census, 1779-1863

This database contains septennial census returns listing taxable residents in Pennsylvania.

Historical Background

While Pennsylvania did not conduct state censuses, beginning in 1779, the state did make enumerations of inhabitants every seven years for tax purposes and to determine representation in state government. These counts are called the septennial censuses.

What You May Find in the Records

The septennial censuses listed all state residents who were eligible to be taxed. Early records might provide only name, county, and township. Women did not typically appear, though some are listed as “Widow” with their late husband’s name. As the years went on, the forms collected additional data, and you may find ages, occupations, and gender recorded, as well as women’s first names. Beginning in 1800 forms began listing the names, ages, and gender of slaves. Data on deaf, dumb, and blind residents may also be included on later forms as well.