Thursday, October 18, 2012

The 1890 Federal Census

Many Kentucky researchers are convinced that some of their genealogical problems would be solved if only the 1890 federal census existed. Unfortunately, 99% of the records for that census were destroyed in 1921 in a Department of Commerce fire in Washington, DC.  Only slightly more than 6,100 records survived and none of them are for Kentucky.  There are a few 1890 Veteran Schedules extant for some Kentucky counties, but those counties do not include Henderson, Caldwell, Crittenden, Livingston, Lyon, Hopkins, Union or Webster. Also, there are no state census records for Kentucky.

The 1890 tax lists for many Kentucky counties do exist, however. Some larger libraries may have them on microfilm and they are certainly available at the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives in Frankfort, Kentucky. Also, some of these tax lists for that year have been published (i.e. Caldwell County) as a "substitute 1890 census."  The 1890 tax list provides important information, such as amount of land owned and the value, number of males over the age of 21, number of legal voters, number of children between the ages of 6 and 20 and even the name of the nearest neighbor, but only the person being taxed  and the neighbor are listed by name. Other members of the household are not listed.

It is inconvenient not having the 1890 census, but there are other places to find information. Be sure to look at wills and estate records, marriages, deeds and mortgages and court records and don't forget to look for newspapers.

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