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ProQuest African American Heritage: U.S. Federal Census Records

A guide to all aspects of the ProQuest African American Heritage database.

Search Tips

  • You must enter or select at least one value—such as a Last Name, State, or Census Year—to get results.
  • If you provide enough search detail, including a Last Name, Census Year, State, and County—a results list of matching records will display.
  • If you do not provide enough search detail—such as not selecting a State or Census Year—you will need to make those selections in your search results, by clicking Census Year, State, or County links before a list of matching records displays.
  • A maximum of 1,000 matching Federal Census records will display as search results. If your search returns more than 1,000 records, a message displays offering suggestions about how you can refine your search to make it more focused.
  • Click the Show more search options link beneath the State drop-down to access additional search options, including Age, Sex, Race, and Birthplace
  • Click the Hide more search options link to remove the additional search options from view.
  • Age, sex, race, and birthplace are available only for 1850 forward (with the exception of 1890). Entering values in these fields will return results for 1850 and forward only.
  • Fire destroyed most of the 1890 census. Age, sex, race, and birthplace values for 1890 are all shown as 'Not Recorded.'
    Some 1890 records for the District of Columbia and the following ten states are available:
    • Alabama
    • Georgia
    • Illinois
    • Minnesota
    • New Jersey
    • New York
    • North Carolina
    • Ohio
    • South Dakota
    • Texas
  • Click the Select from list links corresponding to County, Location, and Birthplace to select from alphabetically-ordered master lists of all counties, locations, and birthplaces in our Federal Census database.
  • Review the tips and rules for searching collections found in the Help section of this database.

About the U.S. Federal Census Collection

First conducted in 1790, the U.S. Federal Census has occurred every ten years since then. The 1860 Federal Census was the first to recognize and count African Americans as individual citizens. For that reason, we provide searchable records for census years 1860 and forward only. The records available here include only those for individuals whose race is recorded as Black or Mulatto. All census years, starting with 1790, are available for browsing within this database.