The federal census is one of the first tools genealogists use to discover more about their ancestors. Taken every 10 years since 1790, population schedules are widely available on commercial websites, some for free. Agriculture, mortality, and social statistics schedules are available for the census years of 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880. Manufacturing schedules are available for 1820, 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880.
Illinois, too, counted its residents. The French conducted censuses long before statehood in 1818. Details for transcriptions are in our research Guide.
On our websites
In the Quarterly
Search for the word census in this site’s search tool or browse the Table of Contents
Search for your ancestor’s surname in the Quarterly surname index here.
Sample articles include these:
- 1783: “Heads of Family in Cahokia” Vol. 6 no. 4
- Military census (1862)
- Mortality schedules for
- 1850 and 1860 are in Vol. 4 no. 3,
- 1870 in Vol. 4 no. 4, and the
- 1880 in Vol. 13 no. 3
- The 1880 federal census in a Quarterly series, beginning with vol. 21 no. 3. Use the site search to see if your ancestor’s surname appeared.
- The 1840 and 1870 federal censuses, and an 1890 substitute, previously offered by SCCGS, are out of print but available in its holdings at the Belleville Public Library.
- The St. Clair County Research and Resources: A Genealogist’s Guide details census abstracts, books, and indexes available for the county’s residents from 1783, 1787, 1807, 1810, 1818, the federal census 1820-1930, and the surviving state census records. For microfilm from which all the censuses online were derived, it lists the order of appearance that St. Clair County villages and townships were recorded for each census year 1810-1930. The Belleville Public Library also has the list. This tool is useful when name searches are unsuccessful and you want to browse a particular location.
Seldom used for census research in the digital age, it may be useful if some pages were not digitized. Census microfilm is still available at the Belleville Public Library for each census taken for St. Clair.
- Free census tutorial, courtesy of the National Genealogical Society.
- Names 1810-1860 in the early state censuses are on cards at the Illinois State Archives
- St. Clair County in the 1930 federal census extracts with annotations are online, courtesy the St. Clair County ILGenWeb Project and US GenWeb Project.
- 1940 federal census digital images are free to browse on the National Archives (with excellent background information).
- Read census questions, enumerators’ instructions and sample forms for all census years, courtesy of the U.S. Census site.
- Read more about the nonpopulation schedules, courtesy National Archives.
- FamilySearch.org and commercial websites have transcriptions and images available.
- Print free blank federal census forms courtesy of FamilySearch.
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