What it is
- The United States Government took a census every ten years, beginning in 1790. Until 1850 only the head of household was named, with other individiuals counted by age group and sex (whether those people were related to the head of household or not). Beginning with the 1850 Census, all members of a household are listed by name, and useful information is given for each of them, such as age, birth place, etc.
- Census Tracking lists, in the note fields for each person, the date and place of each census in which he or she appears by name.
- How to use this site explains how to find the note fields.
Why it's useful:
- It tells you where a family was at a particular time. If you're looking for vital records (or whatever) for that time period, it gives you a clue about where to look.
- It provides information about the birth dates and birth places of children. In some cases this confirms what's been found in books, in other cases it's new (or different) information.
- It tells us how close we are to the goal of including all the folks named Steadwell, Stedwell and Studwell. For example, if we look at the 1830 Census of New York and find that every Steadwell, Stedwell and Studwell who appears in the census also appears in this database (I wish!), then we're in pretty good shape. If not, then we've identified some problems to work on.......
Something to be careful about
- The process of identifying heads of household is subjective. That is, if we find a male named Willard Stedwell, aged 16 - 26, in the 1810 Census of Addison Co., Vermont, we can be pretty sure who that was - because the name is very uncommon. But if the name were Thomas Stedwell, or John, or Joseph, then we'd be less certain. I've only entered information that I think has a high probability of being correct, but it would be a mistake to consider it as reliable as vital records, land records, probate records and etc. But, again, Census Tracking may tell you where to look for those records.
- Federal census data has been entered for all states through 1930, except of course for the 1890 census, which no longer exists. But note that I've only included those families whose indentities were pretty clear. More entries will appear in each update to this site, and I'd welcome your help with this project. If you can provide "census sightings" for your family, I'd appreciate your sending them to me.
Contact: To send your comments, corrections or whatever.