clues in census records

Clues in Census Records

Census records are some of the most accessible records, and they are full of clues about your family and what their daily life was like! Some of these clues are pretty obvious, but some of them are only on certain census records and may only be represented by a check mark so stick around and I’ll show you all the neat things you can find! Census records are released every 10 years and they are all similar, yet each one is a little different. Below is a list of things you can discover on various census records. I will be updating these icons so you can click through to learn where and how to find this information, and discover how they can lead to new discoveries about your family!






education on census record
property ownership in census records
military service in census records
clues about neighbors on census records







To find your ancestor’s census records, just head to FamilySearch. If you don’t already have an account, you’ll need to sign up to find records, but it’s FREE!


In the search fields add your ancestor’s name. Remember if it’s a woman and you want to find her with her parents you will need to search using her maiden name. When searching with her married name you will find her with her husband and children. When entering the birth year range, I recommend searching from two years prior and two years after the real year to account for birthdays falling after the enumerator visits or someone’s faulty memory (US Census records document people’s age and not their actual date of birth). I never tell my birth year wrong, but I have occasionally given the wrong age when asked because I just don’t keep track as well as I used to!

If you don’t find your ancestor, try searching for parents, siblings, spouses, or children to widen your search results. Happy hunting, and if you find a new record tag me on Instagram so I can celebrate with you!