1850 Ancestry Census Records Search

Guide, Clues & Finding Aid for the U. S. Federal Census 1850 - 1930.

The 1850 census was the seventh census of the United States and the first census that included all names in the household.

In 1850 there were 3 census schedules:

  • Free Population Schedule
  • Slave Population Schedule
    Lists the names of slave owners, and the age, gender and color (but not the names) of the slaves. There are slave schedules for the states of Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia.
  • Mortality Schedule
    List of those who died in the 12 months prior to May 1850 and includes cause of death. This is the first mortality schedule taken with a census. Only Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia have mortality schedules in 1850.

Where can I find the 1850 U.S. Census?

  • Ancestor Search Transcribed Census Records
    Some of the 1850 census, including slave schedules and mortality schedules, have been transcribed by volunteers and placed on the internet at various websites including the U.S. GenWeb Projects.

    Search by name, county, state and/or year.

  • Ancestry.com 1850 United States Federal Census
    All the surviving census, including the slave schedules and the mortality schedules, has been digitized and indexed by Ancestry. You can view the census transcription for free. Ancestry has indexed every name making the search very flexible. Ancestry.com census records include the free and slave population schedule as well as the mortality schedule. Images are available for a fee.

  • Family Search

  • Internet Archive
    This copy of the 1850 census microfilm can be read online or the PDF files can be downloaded. The 1850 census includes the free and slave schedules and is browsable by county but not indexed.

What can I learn from the 1850 Census Records?

Census Date - June 1, 1850
The 1850 census is the first census that records the name of everyone in the household.

1850 is also the first year there was a separate slave schedule, but, in most cases, slaves were not named but were simply numbered and can be distinguished only by age, sex, and color (black or mulatto). Only the names of slave owners are recorded.

Census questions:

  • City or town or district or township and county of residence
  • Name of the head of each household.
  • Name of each free person in a household
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Color (white, black or mulatto)
  • Occupation of males over 15
  • Value of real estate owned
  • Whether person attended school or was married within the year
  • Whether the person could read or write if over 20
  • Whether deaf-mute, blind, insane, an idiot, a pauper or a convict
  • Slave schedules show:
  • Name of slave owner
  • Number of slaves owned
  • Number of slaves manumitted (freed)
  • Under the slave owner's name a line for each slave shows: age, color, sex, whether deaf-mute, blind, insane, idiotic or a fugitive from the state

Download blank census form

How can you use the 1850 Census?

  • You can identify town where family was living and use the location to look for churches, cemeteries, courthouses, and other places where your ancestor may have left records.
  • You can identify all the names of people living in the household, but you cannot identify relationships
  • You can calculate approximate birth year from age given on census, although the age given on the census are notoriously unreliable. With an approximate birth year, you can look for birth records.
  • You can use the mortality schedule to find those who died the privious year. You can use this to find other death records, tombstones, and wills.
  • You can identify slaveholders
  • You can identify slaves in age group by owner name
  • You can use the aliens (not naturalized) column to determine length of residency in US to then help find naturalization papers
  • You can use the "deaf and dumb" and blind columns to check for institutional and / or guardianship records.

What states are in the 1850 Census?

The 1850 census enumerated slightly more than twenty three million people. Of these, more than 3 million were slaves. The states are Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin. The territories are Minnesota which include the Dakotas, New Mexico which includes Arizona, Oregon which includes Washington state and Idaho, and Utah

No states are missing and all census has survived.

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