University of 
Michigan Documents Center

Census Schedules for
Genealogical Research

Definition | Ancestry Library | Burton Historical Collection
Census Microfilm | Census Indexes thru 1920 | Census Indexes - 1930
Inter-Library Loan | Library of Michigan | Subject Content

Additional Genealogical Resources
Comprehensive | Birth and Death Certificates | Canada | Detroit City Directory
Michigan | Non-Population Schedules

Last updated on November 8, 2007


Census Schedules are microfilm copies of the original questionnaires filled out by Census takers since 1790. They include the names of individuals and varying amount of detail about their social and economic conditions. Genealogists often use the Census Schedules for their initial research. Information from any given census is released 72 years after the date is was taken in order to protect the privacy of individuals. The latest Census schedules currently available are from the 1930 Census.

Subject Content

Information on the Census schedules varies with the year the Census was taken. For example, literacy was first asked in 1830 and place of birth in 1850. Sample questionnaires appear in Measuring America [], and Population and Housing Inquiries in the Decennial Censuses, 1790-2000 [].

Individual Census Questionnaires

1790 1800 1810 1820 1830 1840 1850 1860
1870 1880 1890 1900 1910 1920 1930 1940
1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000

Holdings at the University of Michigan Library

Images for Census records of ALL STATES, 1790-1930, appear in Heritage Quest []. Heritage Quest is available to all University affiliates. Many public libraries also subscribe to the service.

Microfilm for the State of MICHIGAN, 1830-1880, and 1900-1930, is located in the Serials/Microforms Room under the call number MICRO X1209. The cabinet is situated at the Northeast end of the room. The original 1890 Census was destroyed in a Washington, D.C. fire and is unavailable anywhere in the nation.

The Library of Michigan and Burton Historical Collection have all census microfilm for all states through 1930.

Those affiliated with the University of Michigan may obtain microfilm censuses from other states through Interlibrary Loan. The microfilm series number and reel number necessary for Inter-Library Loan can be obtained using a series of indexes located in the Documents Center under the call number: Z 7553 .C3

Those not affiliated with the University might want to contact either their local public library for Inter-Library Loan, call the Burton Historical Collection at the Detroit Public Library (313 833-1480), or the Library of Michigan (517 373-1300)


Census Online provides links to available on-line indexes for the entire country. It draws together statewide projects and those conducted by local historical societies and individuals.

Heritage Quest <:; provides name indexes for 1790-1930.

Paper indexes exist for the 1830-1870 Michigan Censuses. They are located on the top of the microfilm cabinet that contains the census microfilm in the northeast section of the Serials/Microforms Room.

From 1880 to 1920, the microfilm census schedules are indexed by a second set of microfilm called the Soundex index. There is one Soundex index for each state, although the index may itself be on several rolls of microfilm. The Soundex index for Michigan is filed with the Michigan microfilm in the Serials/Microform Room (MICRO -X1209) under the year of the Census.

The Soundex index supplies an alphanumeric code to each last name. According to the Soundex coding guide:

CodeKey Letters and Equivalents

Soundex indexes for 1930 were only compiled for twelve states (not Michigan) so people without access to Heritage Quest must

1. City directories can be used to identify street addresses

2. Determine Enumeration District(s) of street (film is arranged by state, county, place, and ED)

Ann Arbor
Battle Creek
Bay City
Grand Rapids
Highland Park
Port Huron

Inter-Library Loan

Census microfilm for other states is available to those affliated with the University of Michigan (have library borrowing privileges) through Inter-Library Loan.

Additional Genealogical Resources




Non-Population Census Schedules

Census schedules for businesses have been microfilmed for 1850-1880. They appear in National Archives Microfilm Catalogs under Record Group 29 and have numbers in the T1128 to T1163 range. Many of these schedules for agriculture, manufacturing, and mortality are available at the Bentley Historical Library on campus. Search MIRLYN under the title: federal non population. Additional locations in OCLC's WorldCat under the title "Federal Nonpopulation Census Schedules."

Birth and Death Certificates

Certified copies of birth, death, marriage and divorce records since 1867 can be purchased from the Michigan Department of Community Health [,1607,7-132-4645_4671---,00.html] for a reasonable fee. There are eligibility restrictions for ordering a birth certificate. Directions for finding vital records in other states is published by the National Center for Health Statistics [] and [].

Denise Schoene, Reference Desk Coordinator, Documents Center
Grace York, Coordinator, Documents Center
University of Michigan Library
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