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Genealogical and Family History Resources @ Pitt: Census Records

This guide provides an overview of genealogical and other family history resources available at the Archives & Special Collections and Hillman Library.

Special Census Materials on Microform

State Censuses, 1790-1948: State censuses were done by indiviudal states for a variety of reasons; some were done when a state was still a territory in order to qualify for statehood. These censuses include enumeration of inhabitants, manufacturer's information, and more. These are shelved alphabetically under the "State Censuses" in the microfiche drawers. State Censuses: An Annoted Bibliography gives the information that is covered by each state census. An annotated copy that indicates which materials are held at Hillman can be found in the Microforms area index carrels.

US Direct Tax of 1798: Alphabetical lists of names of inhabitants within district divisions. Descriptions of lands, lots, dwellings, and buildings, as well as the name of the occupants, if they differ from the owners. Microform call no. HJ A1

Manufacturers Schedules for Pennsylvania, 1850-1880: The names of corporations, companies, or individuals that produced articles of an annual value of $500 or more. Includes type of business, capitol invested, raw materials used, number employed, wages paid per month, quantity, kind, and value of annual product. Microform call no. HC 83

Agricultural Schedules for Pennsylvania, 1850-1880: Name of agent, manager, or owner of farm, as well as acres of land, value of farm and machinery, wages paid, and the value of lovestock owned. Microform call no. HD 9

Non-Population Schedules for Pennsylvania, 1950-1880: Inhabitants of prisons, orphanages, etc. Also includes information about schools, libraries, and other institutions supported by the county. Microform call no. HA U5

US Indian Census Roll, 1884-1940: Inhabitants listed by Indian and English name. Includes members of family and date of birth, arranged by tribe and geographic location. Microform call no. E53

Septennial Census for Pennsylvania, 1779-1863: Taxable inhabitants of townships in 29 Pennsylvania counties. Microform call no. HA P4

United States decennial census publications, 1790-1970: A collection of census publications originally issued by the United States Bureau of the Census under its present name and under its earlier name, United States Census Office. There is also a guide available for this collection. Microform call no. HA A11

Population Schedules

Population schedules can be found on microfilm. They cover 140 years of American history, summarized as follows:

1790-1820: Entire US

1830: PA; OH

1840: PA; MD; NY; OH; SC; VA

1850: PA; Erie County, NY; OH

1860: PA; selected metropolitan areas from AL, IL, GA, NY, OH and VA

1870: Allegheny County, PA; Philadelphia County, PA; selected OH

1880: Allegheny Coiunty, PA; selected areas in OH and NY (Archives Service Center houses original bound volumes for this years' census)

1890: Most records were destroyed in a fire; no records housed

1900-1920: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Cambria, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Somerset, Washington, and Westmoreland Counties, PA

1930: Adams, Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bucks, Butler, Cambria, Centre, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lancaster, Lawrence, Snyder, Somerset, Washington and Westmoreland Counties, PA

The information in these schedules varies from year to year. Wikipedia actually has excellent guides to what kind of information each year contains. You may want to click through to see what kind of information is available for 1790, 1800, 1810, 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1890, 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930.

We have also recently added information for the 1940 census as well.

Where to Find Census Information

To view any of the microforms outlined on this page, please submit a request via a reference form.

You may also want to explore the census schedules available on Historic Pittsburgh. This online database allows you to search the U.S. Census Schedules for the city of Pittsburgh from the years 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880, and for Allegheny City from the years 1850, 1860, and 1870.


Indexes and Guides

The most detailed guide is the Index to the Federal Population Census Schedules, 1790-1930.

There are indexes at the end of some microfilm reels that have alphabetical listings of names and corresponding page numbers for the microfilm reel. Please contact us for more detail on how to use these indexes. There are a few other resources that you may want to explore as well.

Indexes for Pennsylvania Censuses, 1800-1850, call numbers are RF158.4.P4 1800-1850.

Federal Population Censuses is annotated with the call numbers of Hillman's census collection on microfilm.

Census description of geographic subdivisions and enumeration districts, 1830-1950, is a geographic index to census wards and districts. If you know the street address of the person for whom you are looking, you can find them this way. There is a set of this microfilm in the Archives & Special Collections at the Archives Service Center (AIS.1985.06 on microfilm).

City directories of the United States, 1860-1901 : guide to the microfilm collection is a directory for all the various cities included in the census records.

The Soundex, available at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, is an alphabetical index that has last names arranged by the way they sound. Consult the Pennsylvania Room at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh for more information. They can be contacted at 412-622-3154.