Census Guide Home
Census Records
How to read them and what you can learn from them

Let's look at the top of the census page.




The 1830 & 1840 Censuses are only slightly different in their wording, but they are basically the same.

Be sure to notice each column is stated as either "Of 10 and under 15" or "10 and under 15". Some write this as 10-15 years old, but it is really 10-14 years old.
Also notice a significant difference between these and the 1800-1820 censuses: These go up to 100 years old while the earlier censuses stopped at 45+.

One thing that is a plus about the 1830 & 1840 census records is that each age range is no more than 9 years, and the first 4 columns are only a range of 4-5 years. This is extremely helpful in determining date of birth or age in general compared to only having the 1800-1820 censuses.

Again, the 1830 & 1840 Censuses only list the Head of Household (HOH), and not any of the other people within the household. Only the name of the HOH will appear.
As in the 1800-1820 censuses, the 1830 & 1840 censuses do not tell us what these individuals did for a living. Was this person a farmer, a lawyer, a doctor? Who knows?

Fortunately, the 1850 census and onward tell us much more about the people enumerated in the census. First and foremost, they include every person's name in the household.