Archive for the ‘census’ Category

Your Favorite New York State Census is Now Online – 1855 NYS Census

Map of New York highlighting Onondaga County

Map of New York highlighting Onondaga County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The 1855 New York State Census is now available online at as of February 1st, 2013.  This is my personal favorite census, and I am quite sure that it should be yours as well.

As most of you know, New York took a census normally every ten years and it generally fell on the five year increments.  So you have the decennial federal census on the 10′s and the NYS on the 5′s, with some exceptions.  This means that even though New York does not have those easy to use town records of our New England ancestors for earlier times, we do have the glorious NYS census.

Not all of the 1855 census survived, but the largest percentage of it did and we are very fortunate in that.  Here is a list of county films that some or all of the 1855 census exist for.  Taken from the LDS website catalog:
New York, State Census, 1855
New York

There are some unique items that were asked as questions by the enumerator, called the “Marshall”.
Here is a list of items that the Marshall asked or recorded:
1 – Dwellings numbered in the order of visitation.
2 – Of what material built.
3 – Value.
4 – Families numbered in the order of their visitation.
5 – Name of every person whose usual place of abode on the first day of June was in this family.
6 – Age.
7 – Sex.
8 – Color – whether black or mulatto. (often left blank meaning white)
9 – Relation to the head of the family.
10 – In what county of this State, or in what other State or Foreign Country born.
11 – Married.
12 – Widowed.
13 – Years resident in this city or town. (Unique to all other census, great for migration studies)
14 – Profession, Trade, or Occupation.
15 – Native voter.
16 – Naturalized voter.
17 – Alien.
18 – Persons of color not taxed.
19 – Persons over 21 years who cannot read and write.
20 – Owners of land.
21 – Deaf, Dumb, Blind, Insane, or Idiotic.

Many of the nuclear families were still intact in 1855, as we had no major upheavals in statewide or nationwide events (such as a war,) to cause the families to split.  There was no Social Security, and retirement living in group homes was not a normal thing like it is today.  So most of the old folks are quite often found living with one of the younger generations.  You will find many fathers, mothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. living in the household.

When you carefully analyze the answers and you discover that your person was born in a certain county and resided in this location for an exact amount of years, it will help you to go back and look for property records in the previous location.

With the 1850 federal census you do see the name of every person in the household, but often you might make a wrong assumption as to the relationships.

Just a couple of hours ago when I first discovered this census online I immediately looked for my 3rd great grandfather, Stephen CHASE, born 1788 in Washington County and had been living since 1816 in Onondaga County the majority of the time in the town of Lysander.  Now I have poured through the 1855 Lysander census microfilms page by page many times and even had gone to the Onondaga County Courthouse, County clerks Office archives, and had looked at the actual census books page by page in Lysander and had never found him in forty or more years.

Boom!  In seconds I used the search box for Stephen CHASE in Onondaga county, and there he was in the Town of Van Buren!  Well why I had never looked there before is beyond me.  In this case, by looking at his neighbors I realize that he owned a retirement home, a framed house in the village of Baldwinsville.  He said that he had lived in this town for only one year and even though I know that I had searched land records for him before I will now go back and see if I can find anything for him purchasing property in Van Buren about 1854.  So this answers a 40 year old question in my own genealogy and I expect in the coming days I will find a great many answers.

Here is how you easily locate the 1855 NYS census on the LDS website.
Go to homepage and wait for it to fully load.  Then scroll down to the bottom of the home page in the white area and click on the “United States” and wait for it to load.  In the list of states on the left select “New York” and wait for it to load.  The reason I say wait is because some of us are impatient and you might click off if you don’t see results right away.

At this time there are 31 enormous collections of New York microfilm images available.  Scroll down and click on “New York, State Census, 1855″ – 594,539 images – 01 FEB 2013 (recently added or updated.)

Here is a link to go directly to the 1855 NYS census search page.

When you find your ancestor in search, take time to record or copy and paste the screen shot of the search results as it even gives you an exact citation to use in your genealogy.

Here is an example of Stephen CHASE’s results:

name: Stephen Chase
event: Census
event date: 1855
event place: E.D. 2, Van Buren, Onondaga, New York, United States
gender: Male
age: 66
relationship to head of household: Head
estimated birth year: 1789
family number: 370
line number: 8
page: 44
film number: 870758
digital folder number: 005207142
image number: 00872
Collection: Stephen Chase, “New York, State Census, 1855″

There are multiple was to use this online resource.  The quickest and most obvious is to use the name search boxes.  You can narrow things down a bit by searching with a known life event, such as; birth, marriage, residence or death.  Or you can search with a relationship such as; spouse or parents.

If you do not locate your person with search, (could be a handwriting error or an indexing problem,) you can select “Browse through 84,493 images.”  This will take you to the above reverenced county list and from there you can select the town to look in.

Thank you to all those wonderful LDS members and non-member volunteer indexers for making this most exciting tool available to all!

Part of 1855 New York State Census Online By Mistake

The new Family Search website of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is quite likely the most valuable free tool for genealogists anywhere in the world.

Recently while exploring some of the “1865″ New York State Census that are available as screenshots of the microfilmed pages, though not indexed yet, may be viewed on your web browser of choice and you may go page by page in a location that your family lived in.

I have been filling in many pieces of data in various family groups that I had previously recorded all of the federal census for and some of the other NY state census. So when I get time it is always a pleasure to go on to their website and start looking at various communities in the 1865 census.


One set of ancestors that had resided early in South Hannibal, Oswego County, NY and then at Lysander, Onondaga County were Hopkins and Phebe (GARDNER) HULET. I have gathered a lot of info on this family but realized I did not have 1865 data for them.

So going to and scrolling down near the bottom of the white section of their homepage, just above the green area, click on the text for “United States”. This will bring up a listing by states and a simple search box. So when you put in “1865 New York” it will immediately show you things that they have available online as scans of rolls of film. In this case you will see the following choices:
New York, Civil War Service Records of Union Soldiers, 1861-1865
New York, Eastern District Naturalization Petitions, 1865-1957
New York, State Census, 1865

Well the first two categories are a wondrous marvel in themselves, but at this time I chose the last one for the 1865 state census.

Now click on the link for “Browse through 57,158 images”, and you will see the list of counties of which films are available for.
Select “Oswego” County.

Now over the past few weeks I have been looking in Hannibal, Enumeration Districts 01 and 02, with no success in finding my ancestors Hopkins and Phebe. Then realizing that Hopkins died in 1869 and his wife Phebe died at her son, Herman’s home in Fulton, NY in 1875, I decided to take a look at the Town of Volney which is where part of the village of Fulton was located at that time. I knew that Herman had lived on the east side of the river, and he had at one time been the Sheriff of Oswego County.

So as I was scrolling through each double page of the census films it suddenly dawned on me that this layout did not look like the 1865 census pages that I had recently been viewing, so in looking at the header title of the screen shots, it showed that this film was actually the wrong film. It is the “1855″ census pages, not the 1865.


This is not exactly a bad thing, as none of the 1855 pages have been published yet on Family Search, but they no doubt would want to know about the error. So I sent Family Search an email about the wrong film showing and I am sure that at some time in the future they will put up the proper 1865 version.

So if you have any interest in people in the Village of Fulton for 1855, you better hurry and get what you can get as it is now. Chances are 1855 is not due to be published until some time in the future.

We are all so lucky to have these resources at our keyboards and fingertips and I can only encourage LDS to keep up the fabulous program of publishing such useful information as the actual scans of the census pages such as these. Thank you LDS.

You may search this UNYG blog site for other articles about the New York State Census.

Real Estate and Personal Estate Values on Census Returns

Have you ever wondered what the Estate valuations meant in the various census returns where they were reported?

The 1850 federal census asked the value of real estate.
1860 census value of real estate and value of personal estate.
1870 census asked value of real estate and personal property.

You could actually use these numbers to put your family in economic perspective within the community in which they lived.  All you would have to do is enter the town or area into a database and then sort by the value to find out where your ancestors stood in the pecking order of their neighbors.

I did this one time on the 1825 New York State census for White Creek, Washington County, NY and it was quite surprising.  Unfortunately this was about 30 years ago and the data was on an old Apple II computer in Works format, which I have since lost track of.

It was quite interesting though to see just where my family fit on the economic ladder.  As I recall it was down near the grass roots rung of the ladder, but that seems to be the norm for most of us.

Here is an excerpt from one of my Revolutionary War Patriot ancestors, Aaron HULET (1755-1835), of Shaftsbury, Bennington County, Vermont, taken directly from his Federal Rev war pension file.  This was from his 1818 application where he had to show need for the 12 bucks.  Spelling as actual:

“The following is a schedule of all real and personal estate, to wit:
1 gun which has been thro the French war & the war of the revolution supposed 200 years old.
1 cow,
1 oxe,
2 sheep,
3 hoes,
1 scythe & 2 snaths,
1 pitchfork,
1 wash tub,
1 small churn,
fire shovel,
2 qt. bottles,
1 pint bottle,
1 stone jug holds 2 qts.,
1 water pail,
1 milk pail,
1 small pail,
3 hogs purchased with pension money,
some few articles of other old and unsailable household furniture,
as 5 old chairs,
pounding panel,
1 table near 40 years of age,
1 old chisl,
a few articles of crockery viz 3 white bowls,
12 home made earthen bowls,
3 milk pans,
6 white plates,
6 knives,
6 forks,
7 pewter and 2 iron spoons,
6 tea cups,
6 saucers,
6 pewter tea spoons,
1 fire shovel,
1 5 qt. pail kittle,
1 dish kittle,
1 tea kittle,
1 broken spider,
1 broken pot, leg out and cracked up to the top,
4 pint tin casons,
1 3 pint tin cason,
1 broom,
1 scive.”

Note his most prized possession was a 200 year old gun and there was no “Real Estate”.  I’ll just bet that each and every one of you have more stuff than this man owned.  “1 broken pot, leg out and cracked up to the top, “ indeed!

When I think about how much junk/stuff that I have as compared with my ancestor’s official inventory I am almost overwhelmed.  I own enough clothes that if I were to make a change of clothes every day and go out in the yard and roll down hill every day, I am sure I would be six feet under long before the clothes wore out.

Our ancestors got by quite nicely with their meager holdings.  They lived and prospered with very little so that all of their spoiled brat descendants could live the life of luxury.  I don’t know about you but I am down-sizing.

They Are in the Census Just Keep Searching

You’ve heard it all before, can’t see the forest for the trees.  Well that is the situation in this example.

I have an ancestor, Abram HODGSON (1804-1877) who had lived in Fabius, then Lysander in Onondaga county, and finally very near by in Ira, Cayuga County, and is buried In the Ira Union Cemetery.

From his parent’s bible I had much about him, and even had been able to document through land records where he had sold land to his son Mahlon HODGSON and Mahlon HUDSON sold the land later which proved what we knew, that most of the kids changed the name to HUDSON.

I had found Abram on all the possible census excepting the 1840 census, and in my mind I always thought that I had at one time gone through the Ira 1840 census page by page on microfilm, but perhaps not.

Yesterday I was determined to locate him in 1840 and it was fairly easy by using advanced search and just searched on the spelling of the given name as “Abram” anywhere in New York State, and sure enough, found him.

Abram “HADGSON” in Ira, with the right number of other household members, just exactly where he should have been.  All these many years I had searched on HODGSON and HUDSON and given name as Abraham as a possibility, but was never able to find him in any printed census index, nor in any online census index.

So my point here is don’t ever give up.  Take a step back and look at alternate possibilities when you are not able to locate your ancestor on the census when you think you should.

In this case it was as simple as searching on given name only.  Another method is to record say five or ten families on each side of your family on the census that you are able to locate them on.  Then when you come to a year that you think they should be in a certain location but not found, then do a search for the neighbors from the adjacent census and see if you can locate them manually as being neighbors on your target census.

It only took me about 25 or 30 years to locate this 1840 listing when it should have been able to be found way back when.  Never give up.

The 1865 and 1892 New York State Census Online

A Partial Index and Page Images of the 1865 and 1892 New York State Census Population Schedules are now Online at Family Search through the Pilot Program.

When I saw this announcement on one of the news group message boards I instantly went to the search forms and searched for some of my ancestors in Onondaga County, NY.  I found nothing so looked closer at the Family Search collection description.  Onondaga Co. has not been completed yet, however there is a very impressive quantity of other counties that have been made available for free online.

Here is a description of those counties that are now available.

1865 NYS Census:

Name index and images of 1865 New York state census.  Counties included in this collection are:   Albany, Allegany, Broome, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Dutchess, Erie, Fulton, Herkimer, Kings, Livingston, Monroe, Montgomery, Niagara, Otsego, Rensselaer, Rockland, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, Ulster, Washington, and Yates.;c=1491284;t=browsable;w=0

1892 NYS Census:

Name index and images of population schedule of the census of New York taken by that state in 1892. This 1892 New York State Census is an every-name index to the state’s inhabitants as of February 16, 1892. The counties included are: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Erie, Kings, Livingston, Monroe, Montgomery, Orleans, Otsego, Rensselaer, Rockland, Saratoga, Schoharie, Steuben, Tioga, Ulster, Washington, and Yates.;c=1529100;t=browsable;w=0

You can search by first name, last name, all events such as birth/christening, marriage, or death/burial, year range per event, location and either exact & close match, or by exact, close and partial.  There is also an advanced search tab which will even present more optional search ideas.  The images are not linked to the search results, but you can browse the actual census page images once you know the page from the index search.

Family Search is a service of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Their main website is at

To readers of this Upstate New York Genealogy Blog, please bookmark this new web address url as we no longer publish this Blog on the old Google Blogger platform and have moved it here and attached it to our main website page.

Major Error in 1820 Census for Onondaga County

For all you people with Upstate New York ancestors this is an important announcement.  There apparently is a major error in the 1820 U.S Federal Census microfilm for the towns of Cicero, Lysander and Manlius.

The following press release was just received:

Press release:

“For Immediate Release

1820 US Federal Census Microfilm Errors Corrected for Onondaga County, NY.

The American Pomeroy Historic Genealogical Association (APHGA)
identified an error in the pagination sequence of the microfilmed copies of the 1820 US Federal Census.  These errors relate to the towns of Manlius, Cicero and Lysander in Onondaga County, New York, and were discovered while attempting to verify the location of the Spencer Pomeroy and Lucy Pomeroy households.

The APHGA’s research indicated that both of these Pomeroy families should have been living in Manlius, N.Y., but both the and Heritage Quest indices placed these households in neighboring Cicero.  By examining the total counts by page and town for both the Manlius and Cicero microfilm rolls on we were able to determine that these pages were filmed out of sequence.  When the pages were sorted out we were able to verify that only 3 pages of the 21 page Cicero microfilm roll were part of the original 1820 Cicero census!

The APHGA has created corrected indices of the 1820 US Federal Census for the towns of Cicero, Manlius and Lysander in Onondaga County for use with and Heritage Quest images.  These indices, along with other documentation explaining how this error was detected and how corrected results were substantiated are available free of charge on the APHGA website at .

The American Pomeroy Historic Genealogical Association was founded by Bill Pomeroy of Syracuse, NY, in order to provide an organization to facilitate American Pomeroy research.  We provide a platform for the collection, communication and collaboration of research regarding the descendants of Eltweed Pomeroy, and act as a clearinghouse for that research.  Bill’s dream is to publish an update of the Albert A. Pomeroy genealogy books, The History and Genealogy of the Pomeroy Family, Volumes I-III, published in 1912 and 1922.  The APHGA has also founded the Pomeroy Anvil Trail, a project to install monuments in the shape of the Pomeroy Anvil across the United States in places that were historic to the Pomeroy Family.

Please feel free to contact us by e-mail at or by phone at 1-800-767-3282 x2530.  For more information about the APHGA please visit our website at .”


That sounds like a very important discovery and we send kudos and thanks for the sharp eye of Nancy Maliwesky, Director, American Pomeroy Historic Genealogical Association and Bill Pomeroy who so tirelessly and benevolently makes this all possible.

If you have a POMEROY anywhere in your family history you will certainly find a treasure trove of information on their website.

Oh, and for what it is worth, the Federal Government in their infinite wisdom discarded all of those original manuscript census enumeration books after they were microfilmed.  Certainly no one would ever need to look at the original documents.

Dick Hillenbrand

1860 Census Now Interactive – Add Your Own Comments for All to See

Readers of the Upstate New York Genealogy Blog are in for a treat starting Thursday May 8th.

Our favorite online data provider, Footnote, is coming out with something absolutely unique!

The 1860 Federal Census is now “interactive”! This will not be just another 1860 census, indeed!

What this means is that you will be able to locate your ancestor on the 1860 census and add your own personal information to the listing. If you have photos or documents, old letters, a diary, bible records, or previous research that you wish to share with others and to collaborate, then you will be able to add those items to the actual census entry for all to see from now on. This will also cite you as the contact person for that item. Now that’s exciting!

Footnote has been a pioneer in this interactive feature and it will be just like the inter-active Vietnam Wall that is available for free on Footnote, which we have written about in a previous Blog.

If you do not yet have a subscription you should check it out and take advantage of the Footnote FREE TRIAL!

Here is the actual press release from Footnote:

Footnote 1860 census interative news release


FOOTNOTE.COM ADDS TO ITS LEADING CIVIL WAR COLLECTION BY LAUNCHING THE FIRST-EVER INTERACTIVE 1860 US CENSUS’s innovative tools enable members to enrich the census records by adding photos, comments, and related documents to names featured on the records.

Lindon, UT – Today, announced the addition of the 1860 US Census to their Civil War Collection. As the largest online collection of original Civil War documents, this new addition to provides a snapshot of America before the bloodiest war in its history.

The 1860 US Census reveals many details about individuals at that time. What was their occupation? Where were they born? What was their marital status? Did they attend school? Could they read or write? Was your ancestor insane, idiotic, or a convict? The 1860 US Census will let you know.

“Is the 1860 US Census already on the internet? Yes,” says Russ Wilding, CEO of “But what makes the census different on Footnote is that these documents become interactive.” has developed tools that enable visitors not only to find someone in the census, but also to enrich the records by adding photos, linking related documents, and contributing insights to any name on the record. “Now they’re not merely names on a document,” explains Russ Wilding. “They become people as the contributions start to tell a story about that person.”

This past March, released a similar project using the same technology with an interactive version of the Vietnam War Memorial. For each name on the Wall, a visitor can view military service information, attached photos and comments. The success of the project is overwhelming as priceless contributions are added to the Wall. Footnote expects similar results with the launch of the 1860 US Census.

At, it’s more than just looking at a historical document. History becomes a living subject on as documents from archives come together for the first time on the Internet. Visitors to can add their own contributions and upload their own shoeboxes of information. Letters, documents, and photos from the past create a view of history that few have seen before.

Every month, two million new documents are added to the site and over a million people visit the site. Footnote promises to continue to deliver new discoveries for those whose interests range from the serious historian to the casual visitor looking for something entertaining.

To view the Civil War Collection including the 1860 US Census, visit today.

About Footnote, Inc. is a subscription website that features searchable original documents, providing users with an unaltered view of the events, places and people that shaped the American nation and the world. At, all are invited to come share, discuss, and collaborate on their discoveries with friends, family, and colleagues. For more information, visit

Previous UNYG Popular Blogs:
New York State Vital Records -
Revolutionary War Patriot or Loyalist -
Palatine DNA Project -
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