The 1790 through 1840 census records only list the name of the head of the household, but that doesn’t mean you can’t glean more information from them than this. They also include lists of how many people are living in the household, and most of them categorize these people into gender and age groups within those genders. Really early ones may even include listings of who is free and who is the slave in a household, and categorize the slaves into genders and age groups, too.
You can use this to your advantage by comparing the names and ages of people in that household on later census records where they are all listed, to get an idea of who was in the household in earlier census records. You can also discover new ancestors by looking up the head of household in old newspaper records and discovering mentions of his or her family. Obituaries, wedding announcements, and birth announcements may be in old newspaper records and give the names, and even ages of family members who were never recorded in a census by name. You can use this information to fill in the names of the people in a household in earlier census records. Wills and probate records are another excellent source of family names that you can use to fill in an earlier census with names. It takes a little bit of detective work but can give you a fuller picture of your family history, so it’s well worth doing.
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Originally posted 2019-03-16 16:11:18.