Research Notes -
from Park Genealogical Books,
your specialists in genealogy and local history for Minnesota and the surrounding area


State Census Records for Minnesota

With the easy availability of Federal censuses and their indexes on the web, family historians can often forget about the censuses taken by the state of Minnesota, or believe that there is nothing new to learn. Those "researchers" can miss out on some important clues!

Minnesota required the taking of a decennial census in years ending with 5, beginning in 1865 and ceasing in 1905. All are every name censuses, listing all people in the household. None are fully indexed, although some local genealogical societies have indexed some for their areas. These records can help pin down a family location as the counties and townships within Minnesota were formed and changed. The 1885 and 1895 censuses are particularly helpful, because of the loss of the 1890 Federal census.

Data on the 1865 state census: name; age; sex; color; deaf, dumb, blind, insane; soldier in service on 1 June 1865

Data on the 1875 state census: name; age; sex; color; birthplace; birthplaces of father and mother

Data on the 1885 state census: name; age; sex; color; birthplace; if father or mother of foreign birth; deaf, dumb, blind, insane; soldier in Civil War

Data on the 1895 state census: name; age; sex; color; birthplace; if father or mother of foreign birth; soldier in Civil War; length of residence in state and enumeration district (years and months for males); occupation; months regularly employed in previous year; if previously enumerated in census. (Volunteers at the Minnesota Historical Society are working on developing an index for this census.)

Data on the 1905 state census: name; age; sex; color; birthplace (state or country); street address; length of residence in state and enumeration district (years and months); occupation; months regularly employed in previous year; if previously enumerated in census; if father and mother of foreign birth (state or country); soldier in Civil or Spanish War

The period covered by the Minnesota state census is an important one, as migration from foreign countries to Minnesota as well as within the United States was high. To have a source for length of residence can help bracket a period in which to search for passenger lists and other records, as well as to more accurately estimate when citizenship papers could have been filed.

Though they are not fully indexed, it is possible to use the geographic organization (county, township, villages, etc.) to quickly find people. To help researchers use the state census, Park Genealogical Books has a Guide to the State Census, which shows the roll numbers by location, as well as extraction forms designed to capture the state census information. Microfilms of the actual census are available on interlibrary loan through your local public library from the Minnesota Historical Society (MHS).

© 2003, Park Genealogical Books, Roseville, MN


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