304 N. Jackson St, Bremen, IN 46506 (574) 546-2849
All publicly available U.S. Federal Census records (1790-1940) are now fully searchable on HeritageQuest Online. The name of your relative or ancestor, and the state he or she resided in, is enough to get you started searching census records. Begin with the 1940 census and work backwards. Most people will be able to find themselves, a parent, and/or a grandparent in the 1940 census. For those with common names, an approximate year and/or location of birth can help narrow the result list.
On HeritageQuest, you can use the search form to search the every-name indexes for all years, or your can select a year and browse the actual records of a specific location. Remember, most of the 1890 census was destroyed by fire. From 1790-1840, only the head of household is listed by name. Additional household members are tallied in selected age groups.
Information on the census may have been supplied by a neighbor, an employer, or someone with an accent. The census taker may have guessed at spelling or the handwriting may have been misread by the indexer. Some families purposely changed the spelling of a name over time. Try alternate spellings.
Uncommon names have the advantage of narrowing down the search results, but the disadvantage of frequent mispellings. The use of nicknames, a middle name, or an initial instead of the first name provide additional problems for the searcher. If you're having a difficult time locating your ancestor, try searching using only a given name or only the last name. Include other details like birth year, residence, family members, place of birth, etc.
You can browse or search a specific census by clicking on the census year before starting a search or below the search form.
Although the intent of the census was to include all individuals, some were not included. People may have been on the move or simply not home when the census taker came to call, or the census taker may have missed their street or house.