Census Substitutes–New and Old Finding Aids

The United States census system of Federal, State, and at times, local censuses are the principal genealogy sources that we use to document a family tree. Check any major genealogy database online today.

What if the locality where your ancestors resided did not take the census or the actual enumeration is missing? Then, you look for a substitute record of that time and place to fill in the missing information.

Using the Census Trail to Find Your Lost Ancestors in New Jersey
An amazing website for genealogists appeared in the back matter to a new compilation of Legislative Petitions, 1740-1804, New Jersey. 3 vols. Over 64,000 persons were included with a full description of the petition, the date, and the full source citation for that entry. Entries are alphabetical. Census Publishing, PO Box 612, West Jordan UT 84084 or PO Box 708891, Sandy UT 84070. This footnote appeared on every page: The “List of Petitions” beginning on page ii may contain additional information on individual petitions.”

In the list of completed projects posted at http://www.censustrail.com you will find census substitutes for 18 states–oaths of allegiance, lists of inhabitants, militia lists, petitions, tax lists, surname rolls, freemen and servants lists, jury lists, tithables, ratables, decennial lists, election returns, early census listings, and prisoners taken in battle. A special project includes the extraction of lists and names from the Territorial Papers of the United States, 26 printed volumes.

The website also has a special article: “The Territorial Papers of the United States,” written by John Stemmons. An electronic copy of the article in Word is available from “>johnds@censustrail.com”> johnds@censustrail.com. Census Trail is a fee website. Searching the index is free.

New Jersey Tax Lists, 1772-1822. 4 vols. Ronald Vern Jackson (1946-1999), Bountiful UT: AISI Publishing Company. This is an alphabetical computer printout of the tax rolls from the New Jersey State Archives. Check WorldCAT on the FamilySearch Catalog online to find the library nearest you where these volumes can be searched. The same data are also included in the microfiche edition of the AIS Index, Search 1.

Nation-wide indexes, issued on microfiche, were compiled by Accelerated Indexing Systems, Inc.: Census-year increments–1609-1819, 1820-39. 1840-49, 1850-1906, and regional indexes for 1850-1906. Search 8 is a nation-wide index to the mortality schedules, 1850-1880. Over 70,000,000 entries. Search 1, 1609 through 1819 is a nation-wide index for the whole United States as they were formed in Colonial times and subsequently. The only index of its kind ever!

Printed State-wide census indexes for the Federal censuses can be found in most genealogy libraries of any size—if they haven’t thrown these printed volumes away or sold them off at $l.00 of less per volume. There is the belief among many genealogists and genealogy librarians that all of this data is easily available on the internet.

Caution: First, the data transferred to CD-Roms reconfigured the names by artificially selected regions. These reconfigured data do not show the trends of the nation-wide indexes: changes of surnames as they are Americanized. Second, the master database included a large number of what are often called census substitutes—tax and militia rolls, voter’s lists, inhabitants list for towns and cities, and on and on. These substitutes may not be included in the regional versions—since they represented non-census records.

Inquire at your local Family History Center or FamilySearch Center for the original microfiche version. There is still a copy at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

National Name Lists, 1600’s to the Present
William Dollarhide is compiling a state/nationwide series of name lists that can be used as census substitutes. These Name List Guides give a state-by-state listing of what name lists are available published and online, where to find them, and how they can be used to further your research. They begin with Alabama, and 37 titles have been completed to date.

  Alabama Name Lists, 1702 – 2006, with an annotated bibliography of published and online name lists; by William Dollarhide; 81 pp., PDF (download only) edition; 8.5×11; Published: 2013. This is version one. Also available, the same PDF title Alabama Name Lists, 1702 – 2006, with a selection of National Name Lists, 1600s–Present, an annotated bibliography of published and online name lists. With FR0210. FREE As a PDF Download eBook; by William Dollarhide; 81 pp., paper; 8.5×11; Published: 2013; ISBN: 9781628590005; Item # FR0209.


All name list books come with a free download PDF of the book with live links as well as a paper version. This caution is given by the publisher, Leland Meitzler: You can only download the PDF eBook once, so if you make your order from a computer other than your own, you might want to wait until you get to your computer and do the actual download from the email. Your book itself will be mailed by USPS media mail, and can be expected to arrive within 7 to 10 days within the United States.
  Not only does this volume give a detailed bibliography of Name Lists available for the state, but links to websites, FHL book and microfilm numbers, archive references, maps, and key historical information make this volume invaluable to the researcher looking to extend their lines and fill in the family tree.

Available from http://www.familyrootspublishing.com/store Use the online search bar to locate your state of interest. You really cannot document your ancestry without lists.

Thousands of ancestors are included in these substitute census records–Break your losing Streak! Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle  http://arleneeakle.com

PS Do you ever have the feeling that you may never live long enough to search it all? How cool is that?


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