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HeritageQuest® Online

HeritageQuest® Online provides access to Census records for the U.S. along with vital collections to discover families that originated or lived in North America. The database includes Books, Revolutionary War Era records, Freedman's Bank records, Congressional Serial Set records, Will and Probate records.

About the U.S. Federal Census

The U.S. has taken a census of its population every ten years since 1790. The most recent census available to us at present is the 1940 census, due to a 72-year privacy restriction. While the questions in U.S. census records varied from year to year and in state censuses, from state to state, you can find information like names of other household members, ages, birthplaces, residence, occupation, immigration and citizenship details, marriage information, military service and more. The 1890 census was largely destroyed in a fire, but we have compiled a “substitute” with various other records to help bridge the gap.

Search the entire collection or selection to search individual data collections by clicking on the Search link in the Census box on the Home page.

Included data collections (alphabetical by title):

1790 United States Federal Census

1800 United States Federal Census

1810 United States Federal Census

1820 United States Federal Census

1830 United States Federal Census

1840 United States Federal Census

1850 United States Federal Census

1850 United States Federal Census - Slave Schedules

1860 United States Federal Census

1860 United States Federal Census - Slave Schedules

1870 United States Federal Census

1880 United States Federal Census

1890 United States Federal Census Fragment

1890 Veterans Schedules

1900 United States Federal Census

1910 United States Federal Census

1920 United States Federal Census

1930 United States Federal Census

1940 United States Federal Census

Selected U.S. Federal Census Non-Population Schedules, 1850-1880

U.S. Enumeration District Maps and Descriptions, 1940

U.S. Federal Census - 1880 Schedules of Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Classes

U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1885

U.S. Special Census of Deaf Family Marriages and Hearing Relatives, 1888-1895

U.S., Indian Census Rolls, 1995-1940

 

 

About the Books Collection

The Books collection is made up of unique family and local history content spanning five centuries!

  • Digitized books from the UMI Genealogy & Local History microfilm collection.
  • 10,000+ family histories and lineage books
  • 13,000+ local histories
  • Over 250 primary source documents including tax lists, city directories and probate records.
    • NEW an additional 20,000 city directories added in February 2015
  • All titles are fully indexed and searchable.
  • NEW Hit terms are highlighted on the page images.
  • Plates of maps, sketches, photographs, etc. 
  • Search using First and Last Name, Event Year (e.g., birth year), Event Location, and Keyword (e.g., publication title, occupation, or religious affiliation).

About the Revolutionary War Era records

A premier collection of Revolutionary War records, the Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files contain an estimated 80,000 application files from officers and enlisted men who served in the Revolutionary War in all branches of the American military: army, navy, and marines.

The files that make up these records consist of 10" x 14" cards or 10" x 14" envelopes that can contain up to 200 or more pages of documents relating to an application for a pension or bounty-land warrant by a Revolutionary War veteran, his widow, or his heirs. (Typically, files contain around 30 pages, and some relate to post-Revolutionary War service.) While the files may contain names of several applicants—in the case of multiple heirs, for instance—they will relate to the service of one soldier, so far as this could be determined by the evaluators who assembled the files.

Pensions

In the years of and following the Revolutionary War, the federal government provided three main types of pensions for servicemen:

  • Disability or invalid pensions for soldiers physically disabled in the line of duty
  • Service pensions awarded on the basis of time served
  • Widows’ pensions for women who lost husbands during the war or whose husbands met specific service requirements

The first pension legislation for the Colonies provided for disability benefits and was enacted on 26 August 1776. Service pensions were approved in 1778, and 1780 saw the first pensions for widows and dependents. Subsequent legislation altered terms of eligibility and benefits up until 1878, when widows of soldiers who had served in the Revolutionary War for at least 14 days or in any engagement became eligible for lifetime pensions.

While application procedures varied depending on the law’s requirements, they usually involved the applicant appearing before a court of record and describing his service. A widow would need information about the date and place of marriage. These “declarations” could include supporting documents related to property or marriage and affidavits from witnesses.

Bounty-Land Warrants

The Colonial and U.S. governments also awarded bounty-land warrants to soldiers as an inducement to or reward for service. Bounty-land warrants assigned rights to land in the public domain to soldiers who met eligibility requirements related to their service. For example, a September 1776 resolution provided the following land grants to men who served until the end of the war: noncommissioned officers and soldiers, 100 acres; ensigns, 150; lieutenants, 200; other officers, amounts up to 500 acres for a colonel. (Generals were added in 1780.) Again, later acts of Congress increased the scope of benefits, and applications can include supporting documents and affidavits from witnesses.

A November 1800 fire apparently destroyed Revolutionary War pensions and bounty-land-warrant applications and papers related to them submitted before that date. Some files thus contain cards noting that further papers are not available.

Using the Records

The files can contain multiple applicants. You can search the following categories for each applicant:

  • State
  • Applicant’s name
  • Pension year
  • Application year

The files can contain a wide variety of records submitted to support an application. Information of genealogical interest includes the application itself, which can provide the soldier’s name, rank, unit, time of service, age, date of birth, residence, and sometimes birthplace. A widow’s application may also include her maiden name and date and place of her husband’s death. Applications by heirs will typically indicate ages and residences. Additionally, files might contain affidavits, service records, records of commissions and discharges, wills, receipts, diaries or pages from family Bible records, military orders or muster rolls, newspaper clippings, letters, marriage certificates, account books, and even one book of contemporary lyrics.

NOTE: Some files contain both pension and bounty-land-warrant applications.

About the Freedman's Bank Records

This database is an index to Freedman's Savings and Trust Company's registers of signatures of depositors. Some information that may be found in this index includes:

  • Name of depositor
  • Date of application/deposit
  • Name of employer
  • Name of plantation
  • Age
  • Height
  • Complexion
  • Name of father and/or mother
  • Whether married
  • Place of birth
  • Residence
  • Occupation
  • Names of children
  • Names of brothers and sisters

Note: Not all entries will contain all of this information. Forms changed over time and differed based upon location of the bank branch.

This collection is a great source for genealogists researching their African American heritage, or family members that were indentured regardless of race, because of the amount of personal information recorded for each individual in it. Be sure to view the corresponding image of the original document associated with your ancestor in order to obtain all possible information available for them.

About Freedman's Savings and Trust Company

The Freedman's Savings and Trust Company was incorporated in 1865 by an act signed by President Abraham Lincoln. The purpose of the company was to create an institution where former slaves and their dependents could place and save their money. The original bank was first headquartered in New York and later moved to Washington, D.C. Shortly thereafter branch offices opened in other cities, primarily in ones in the south where there was a larger population of African Americans. Eventually there were 37 branch offices in 17 states with approximately 70,000 depositors (over the banks lifetime) and deposits of more than $57 million. In 1874, as a result of mismanagement, fraud, and other events and situations, Freedman's Bank closed.

About the Registers of Signatures of Depositors

Twenty-nine of the thirty-seven branches of the bank had records that have survived and been microfilmed. The registers of signatures of depositors collection contains forms required by the bank for each individual making a deposit to fill out. These forms asked questions regarding personal information and identification as well as required a signature. The exact questions asked on each form varied between years and branches.

NOTE: Some of the above information taken from The Freedman's Savings and Trust Company and African American Genealogical Research by Reginald Washington.

To see enlarged versions of the images on this page, right click on the image and select "Open in a new tab."

About U.S. Congressional Serial Set records

The Serial Set collection contains unique materials published in “serial” form from the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, as well as select committees, commissions, and government bureaus.

  • Over 100,000 hand-selected sources from private relief actions and memorial petitions with genealogical significance.
  • Covers 1789-1969, which includes documents from the predecessor to the U.S. Congressional Serial Set, the American State Papers.
  • More information can be found here.

U.S. Serial Set Image for Sale of land in Florida to Alma Laird