Saturday, June 27, 2009

Rhode Island Census Records

Today, we completed yet another New England state census directory. This time we provided extensive links to the Rhode Island census records found online. Like the preceeding Connecticut census and Vermont census records most of the records available for Rhode Island were limited to the earlier census records. In fact, we found few free transcribed records that weren't already published as books and available free online. We'll mention those below.

As a colony, Rhode Island performed several enumerations. While the earliest census of the state was taken in 1706, it did not survive, or has been lost. The first extant census taken was one ordered in 1730. This early census enumerated all citizens, male, female, black and white. It has been transcribed by Mildred Mosher Chamberlain in her Rhode Island Roots VII: 16-17 and X: 1.

John R. Bartlett in 1858 put together a manuscript which transcribed the 1774 census into book form at the behest of the State of Rhode Island. This manuscript has been published online by the Google book project and is freely available through this link: Census of the inhabitants of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. In this 1774 census, all townships were present except for the township of New Shoreham. In printing the census, the orthography of the original manuscript has been followed in the names, as nearly as possible.

The 1777 Military census was also transcribed by Mildred Mosher Chamberlain and appears in a work published by Genealogical Publishing House, but is currently out of print. This military census of Rhode Island is an enumeration of all males over sixteen both able and unable to bear arms. In addition, the census was to provide the names of men already in the state militia or in Continental battalions, and to identify transients, Indians, Negroes, and Quakers. The result is a town-by-town list of about 8,500 Rhode Island men-- the records given here in full are for twenty-three towns. Three towns, those of Exeter, Little Compton, and New Shoreham had their records lost, while the three towns of Middletown, Newport and Portsmouth never had enumerations taken, as in 1771 they were occupied by British forces.

The final census taken as a colony was done in 1782 and has been published by Jay Mack Holbrook as Rhode Island 1782 Census. This same census was later published by Katharine Utter Waterman during 1941/1942 in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, using the same title, and used copies can be found occasionally through the following links:

  1. Rhode Island census of 1782 (New England Historical and Genealogical Register)

  2. Rhode Island census 1782

Members of the NEHGS should be able to consult the yearly edition of the publication and have access to that data online.

The Federal census was enumerated every 10 years in Rhode Island since 1790 and other then the 1890, all records have survived. The state also conducted census every 10 years starting in 1865 and continuing until 1935. Copies of the 1865 census is microfilmed at the Rhode Island Historical Society and they provide an every name index. The 1875, 1885, and 1925 state census are available at the Rhode Island State Archives physical location. A transcription to the 1915 state census was recently put online and is accessible via the correct county link below.

To see our complete list of census for Rhode Island visit: Rhode Island Census Records

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Vermont Census

Today we updated our Vermont census records at AccessGenealogy. Like our recent post on Connecticut census records, visitors may be dissappointed with the amount of free census records available for each county. Extensive online research for census records in Vermont will likely have you paying for that access.

Census taking in Vermont began in 1791, and Vermont holds a unique position in census taking history for that fact. All other states existing at that time had their 1790 census conducted during 1790, however, Vermont didn't become a state until 1791, and Congress commissioned their census to take place that year. So, technically, the 1790 census in Vermont would be better known as the 1791 census.

Prior to 1791, Vermont's land was under direct confrontation between competing grants between two states, New Hampshire and New York. After the performance of the Green Mountain Men in the Revolutionary War, the federal government granted Vermont residents the right to become a state of their own, settling the border controversies.

Jay Mack Holbrook has attempted to build a record of people who were granted land in the state of Vermont, by looking at early New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Vermont records. While he calls his book the Vermont 1771 Census, readers should not confuse that with being an actual Vermont census, rather then just a collection of names. In actuality, many of the names in the book, never actually resided in Vermont. They may have been granted land, but they either sold it, gave it to a relative, or just never claimed it.

The Vermont Genealogical Society has been working on a project to research all Vermont families in the 1791 census, by systematically sourcing the identity of all family members of those enumerated in 1791. Anyone purchasing or consulting these manuscripts will be light years ahead of those just relying on the 1790 census itself. Unfortunately, the first volume is already out of print; researchers can still get used copies from Amazon.

List of families enumerated in each volume:

You can still purchase volume 2 from the Vermont Genealogical Society, but they have no online method for payment.

If you wonder what you're going to get for your money, here's an example of an entry.

Best of luck with your Vermont Ancestors!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Connecticut Census

Today we updated and added to our Connecticut census records on Access Genealogy. For those looking for free census records for Connecticut, you will be disheartened by what we found. Other then the major free census available mainly at the Pilot project at Family Search, there were minimal transcriptions done. Basically, if you're conducting extensive census research in CT then you're likely going to have to pay.

Most free transcriptions online are done by volunteers who have an interest in the town or county being researched. While there are some great websites out there for Connecticut research, very few appear to have concentrated their efforts on census transcriptions.

The federal government conducted census in Connecticut every 10 years since 1790. All counties in CT were formed prior to 1790, so all counties have all exisiting census records (1790-1930) online. There were no state census conducted in Connecticut.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Arkansas Census

The Arkansas Census records at Access Genealogy have been updated.

The census directory provides the researcher with the most current records available online for free, and clearly annotates when there are no records available for that census year for free, and provides links to paid sources instead. The census was first taken in Arkansas in 1810 while it was still part of a territory of the United States and not an actual state. A series of "sherriff" census were taken in the 1820's of which only a few survive. Those that do survive however, shine a light on the names of the early settlers.

The first full census taken in Arkansas in which we have records of was the Arkansas 1830 Census. From then on, every 10 year, census have been taken as required by Congress. Of those census, the 1830-1930 are now all available online. The 1940 should become available in 2012.

The 1890 Arkansas census was lost to fire, as was almost the entire 1890 census. Efforts have been made to replicate that census, but these pale in comparison to the value that the 1890 would have provided the researcher.

Visit: Arkansas Census Records