This collection contains the following indexes:
- 1791 Census of New Orleans
- 1810 Federal Census Index
- 1820 Federal Census Index
- 1830 Federal Census Index
- 1840 Federal Census Index
- 1840 Pensioners List
- 1850 Federal Census Index
- 1850 Slave Schedule
- 1850-1860 Sugar Census Index
- 1860 Federal Census Index
- 1870 Federal Census Index
- 1890 Veterans Schedules
- Early Census Index
By constitutional requirement, the federal government of the United States conducts an enumeration of the nation every ten years. Since the first census in 1790, the returns from these censuses have become an invaluable source of information for genealogists and others. This collection of census records contains a vast amount of information on millions of Americans.
Although the questions asked and information provided has changed since that first census, there is some basic information provided in all indexes. The name of the head of the household is provided from the first census. In 1800, age categorization and residence was added to the other questions regarding slaves, and number of males and females. In 1820, categorization of occupation was added. In 1830, categorization of deaf, dumb, and blind persons was added. In 1850, the name, age, sex, color, place of birth, and literacy was added to the questionnaire. In 1860, the value of real estate was an added feature of the enumeration. And in 1880 the census added questions relative to marital status, and parents' place of birth.
1791 Census of New Orleans
6 November 1791 Census of New Orleans, Manuscript AA840, New Orleans City Archives/Louisiana Division, New Orleans Public Library.
The original 1791 census of New Orleans was recorded in Spanish, although there is an English translation of it, available from the New Orleans City Archives. Like the early U.S. federal censuses, this census recorded the names of the heads of households, along with the number of other household members in categories such as gender, race, and age. In addition, it also gives a street of residence and an occupation for white heads-of-households.
VETERAN SCHEDULES (1840-1890)
In 1840 an enumeration of living Revolutionary War veterans was included in the census. This was a list of names recorded on the back of the original printed census forms. Beginning in 1870, the enumerators asked questions regarding Civil War veterans and lists were compiled from these records. In both cases, only the name of the veteran is available.
At the 1850 and 1860 censuses, an enumeration of slaves was performed. Full names were rarely recorded, yet each slave was numbered. Organized by owner, each person was listed with age, sex and color. With these details, along with other facts gathered outside the schedule, it is possible to locate a specific person without actually finding their name.
Despite the wealth of information available in census indexes, there are limitations. These include incomplete information, mis-transcribed information, mis-recorded information, and incorrect information. Reasons for these problems include persons who refused to answer the enumerators questions, persons who lied in answer to the enumerators questions, persons missed by the enumerators, and human error in writing down the information originally or transmitted incorrectly.
For further, more detailed, information refer to Chapter 5 (pg. 103-146) in The Source, edited by Loretto Dennis Szucs and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking, or Chapter 9 (pg. 301-352) in Printed Sources, edited by Kory L. Meyerink.