1790-1930 U.S. Census Records Available Free

With the U.S. Census Bureau beginning to release statistics from the 2010 census. It seems a good time to mention that Internet Archive has a complete set of the available U.S. Census back to the first one in 1790:

From the press release of the completion of the most recent census:

San Francisco, CA –Internet Archive has announced that a publicly accessible digital copy  of the complete 1930 United States Census – the largest, most detailed census released to date – is available free of charge at www.archive.org/details/1930_census. Previously, 1930 Census records were accessible only through microfilm, or subscription services in which select portions of data are provided for a fee.

The 1930 Census records are being made available online through a collaboration with the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana. In the coming months, complete census records from 1790 through 1920 will be made available as part of Internet Archive’s growing Genealogy Collection.

“Internet Archive is pleased to be working on this important collection with the renowned Genealogy Center of the Allen County Public Library,” said Robert Miller, Internet Archive’s Director of Books. “There is tremendous value in seeing the original census source documents without filtering and third-party interpretation of the information. For historical researchers as well as those individuals who are simply passionate about history and genealogy, access to these materials is critical to understanding the past and assessing how the past impacts the present, and how it can shape our future.”

Taken just five months after the Wall Street crash of October 29, 1929, the 1930 Census was the fifteenth census of the United States and includes 2,667 microfilmed rolls of population schedules with names and statistics of more than 137 million individuals. The 1930 Census became available to the public on April 1, 2001. By law, census records are restricted for 72 years.

Information contained about individuals in the 1930 Census includes:

•    Address of home
•    Date and location of birth
•    Occupation
•    Marital status
•    Year of immigration
•    Ability to speak English
•    Ability to read and write
•    Property ownership
•    Military participation

“The 1930 Census represents the zenith of data collected by federal enumerators,” said Curt B. Witcher, Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center Manager. “Having it online for free will allow access for anyone at any time – the classroom teacher who wants to show interested students what an older census looks like, the local historian wanting to study everyone who lives in a particular township or village, the genealogist wanting to search for families missed by indexers. Millions of individuals will benefit from this resource. What a fortunate circumstance to have this historic census widely available in this census year of 2010.”

Note: There is an interesting backstory to the missing 1890 census:

“The Eleventh United States Census was taken June 2, 1890. Most of the 1890 census was destroyed in 1921 during a fire in the basement of the Commerce Building in Washington, D.C. In December 1932, according to standard Federal record keeping procedure at the time, the Chief Clerk of the Bureau of the Census sent the Librarian of Congress a list of papers to be destroyed, including the original 1890 census schedules. The Librarian was asked by the Bureau to identify any records which should be retained for historical purposes but the Librarian did not accept the census records. Congress authorized destruction of that list of records on February 21, 1933 and thus the 1890 census remains were destroyed by government order by 1934 or 1935.”

-Jeff Kaplan and Kathy Dalle-Molle

42 thoughts on “1790-1930 U.S. Census Records Available Free

  1. stephen seymour

    i am trying to trace my ancestors in the United States i live in England and am trying to find out if any of my Ancestors fought in the american war of 1812 or the American civil war can anyone please help me..

    1. Walter Esler

      Assuming your War of 1812 ancestor here fought on the American side, you can look for his name in this index:


      Once found, you can request a copy of the soldier’s Consolidated Service Records from the (US) National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Go here:


      You can also check here to learn if your ancestor established eligibility for a Land Grant Warrant under the Act of 1812:


      The applications were never microfilmed. The Internet Archive won’t have digitized applications because they were never microfilmed, but NARA does have the paper records.

      If your ancestor filed for a Warrant, you can ask NARA to search for and copy the application at the above site. You will have to obtain a user name and password, but this is free.

      Good luck

  2. Don Krieger

    Thank you to the Allen County Library and to the Internet Archive for making this extraordinary resource freely available to everyone. I have created guides to help you find the reel you want from the census reels and the Soundex index reels for 1880-1910 (1920, 1930 will be completed likely by the end of the summer). To use this resource, got to http://Guides.DonsList.net and click on the year you want. A list of states will appear in the upper left frame. Click on the state you want and a list of reels for the state will appear in the upper right frame with a description of the municipalities and enumeration districts covered by each reel. Click on the link for reel you want. A new window or tab will appear with the page from the Internet Archive for that reel. To the left you will find links which allow you to either download the entire reel or view it online using the archive’s online reader.

    I hope this is helpful to everyone.


    Don Krieger
    Always free; always fast.

    1. Barbara Merchant

      I am not familiar with US Censuses, so forgive me asking a stupid question. I am looking at the 1870 census at http://www.archive.org/stream/populationschedu0084unit#page/n257/mode/1up and while I can see the names, occupations, etc, I cannot see any addresses of where these people were living. The first column is just a running number denoting the order in which the dwellings were visited. How do I find who is living in a particular dwelling if I have an address? The address I am interested in is currently 1607 41st Avenue, San Francisco. I have mapped it to Ward XI, District 2 for 1870. It may not have existed in 1870, but I am trying to trace an ancestor who had that address as his last known address in the USA in 1950. My ancestor was born in 1875, so I am looking to see who lived in this address from then onwards. Many thanks for your help!

      1. Troy S.

        Unfortunately, the census information does not contain addresses. Your ward and district are as detailed as the information will get (sometimes only counties), along with the family and/or household number. You can search for your ancestor in other censuses at FamilySearch.org and get indexed information to trace them through the years at the county or ward level.

  3. Kathleen Blake

    was looking for Cambria County PA 1930 census
    laste name MOlnar soundex, I think, would be M 545… not sure how to proceed

  4. Jim Coats

    Was any census taken in the Indian Territory (oklahoma) in 1860-1900? I’m doing family geneology and my family originated there living with the Cherokee. Would like to get info on my grandfathers and greatgrandfathers. Cheers.



    1. Kerry C

      start at the Ellis Island site or try ancestry.com (free trial & able to download info to your computer) or you can search through Google to see if there are others who have done geneology research on those names already. Good luck.

    2. Carl Heldt

      Try Familysearch.com This site run by the Mormon church has all sorts of good stuff from the US and around the world.

  6. Amy Brown

    Just wanted to say thank you for your generosity – time, effort and everything! This is great! I am trying to find more information on Chickasaw Indians and I could not see
    anything – although I am exhausted and maybe overlooking it? Is this tribe listed?
    Thank you so much

    1. Kerry C

      There is info out there. I had to contact the Library of Congress for info about the Pennaquock/Pennacook tribe (talk about a really lost tribe!) & they were indeed able to help. Chickasaw info has got to be more plentiful that Pennaquocks. Were they affiliated with a larger tribe? Some Native tribes were actually just sort of branches of larger well known ones, but I’d think there would be plenty on the Chickasaw. Good luck.

  7. Alice Ahirley

    I am researching my shirley family; MARY E.Shirley,died 12/25/1865 she was about 30 yrs old
    Georgia A.S.Shirley .. died 1/31/1863 age 1 year 2 mo.
    John L.Shirley…died 5/6/1864…age 11 days.
    children of M.& M.E.J.Shirley
    Edward L.Garner…s/o P.&L.M.Garner B.9/12/1871…d.8/11/1872 all buried in Arkansas,Alpine. Mary E. may have been borned in Ill.

    1. Jim Cook

      Any idea where Mary E. Shirley lived in 1860, 1850 or 1840? Remember the census is taken every 10 years, so she should appear in these census. If she was about 30 years old when she died, she would have been about 25 years old in 1860, 15 years old in 1850 and 5 years old in 1840.

      Neither Georgia nor John will appear in any census as they were born and died after the 1860 and before the 1870 census. Edward will not appear in a census for the same reasons.

      Need more than initials for the parents of Mary, Georgia and John.

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  9. Lorraine Hawkins

    My great grandmother was born around 1870 just after the emancipation, and lived in Columbia, SC. Do you think I could find her anywhere? The family name was Carter, could it have been spelled a differant way.

  10. Kali

    Hi, I am trying to trace my maternal ancestors…I only know that my great grandma was born in 1885 in Chesterfield SC…I am trying to find out her parents names…I’ve searched Ancestory.com but, I can only come up with her married name.

    1. Kerry C

      Did you try contacting Chesterfield vital statistics (or whichever county it is in) to see if the might have marital records? How about the churches?

  11. Brenda Bennett

    I am looking for my maternal great great grandfather, Amable Bruneau, I know he is listed as living in Plainfield, CT in 1923. After that I have no record of him but I have his wife, Alma as a widow in 1927 Woonsocket,RI. I would appreciate any help given in order to find our when Amable died.

  12. Ginny S

    Thank You, Thank You, Genealogy Center of the Allen County Public Library! Born in LaGrange County on September 4, 1930. Sure have been waiting for this. Happy the census are going to be available to everyone, period. Since it is being released to the public, no one should be able to charge for using it.

  13. maryellen

    i want to find out where im family come from but i dont know many names of the people in my family. how do i go about finding out?

    1. ~willow~

      Hi Maryellen. You start with what you know. I follow matriarchal lines, so I start with my mother’s names, places, and dates, and then :her: mother’s data, and then :her: mother’s data, and so on. Good luck!

    2. greg keer

      Not enough info to answer.depending on how close to tne ancestors countyhouse or vital statistics.

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  15. Sydna Uteg

    Thank you for providing access to so many of us that want to document our family tree. You are a great asset for researchers.

  16. Sherry Mckee

    On census records, they give #’s as addresses, instead of the actual address…how can you get the actual address? Also I am really having trouble with finding someones father, his mother never married, and gave her children her maiden name as their last names, this was in 1860. I have searched and searched. His name is Samuel Isaac Hankins Houston/Stewart Co. Tn. born Feb.27th 1860, and he died Aug.24th 1920.

  17. Bev

    For those of you asking name of street, not just street numbers; this information can sometimes be found, handwritten, by the census taker, along the left-hand side of the sheet, before the first column. You may see it better once printed. The older the census year, the more likely the location is a legal description or farm plot description.

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  19. Maelduin

    Is there any way that these records could be made searchable? I’m looking for two relatives and their friends, who are supposed to be on page 20 and page 2 of the 1920 US section in Queens, New York, and the 1,000-plus PDF pages of the microfilm are so huge that Preview takes an age to go from page to page; just can’t find them!

  20. Ruth Scott Mullis

    I am searching for my cousin, Benjamin Rasnic, born in 1949, lived in the Dayton Ohio area. He had a sister, Kitty, not sure if she married, but I think she did. Their parents were Benjamin Ewell and Pauline Rasnic. They are both deceased. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

  21. Michelle Ann Mazza-

    As many others I am doing my geneology research and will assist you if you assist me in our journey to the past. -mf.021013

  22. Brenda Tolley Duncan

    Thomas Jackson Gribble was my great grandfather. He was involved in the
    mining industry in Great Britain, he traveled to the US with two of his uncles,
    and came to work in an iron ore mine in Cranberry, NC, in the late 1880’s.
    In 1892 he went to Cripple Creek, CO. He disappeared, and his wife in
    Cranberry never heard from him again. How might I go about finding
    any info on him? All assistance appreciated.

    Thanks, Brenda

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