Although genealogy experts recommend that we start our research with records at home, those of us doing research away from our ancestral home often start with the internet. And, of course, that usually leads us to census records.
The United States Census Bureau has conducted a census, or a count of the population, since the late 1800's. The census is conducted every 10 years, providing not only a count, but demographic information on every citizen in the country. The most recent US Census available to the public is the 1930 census (1940 will be available in 2012). You can access the census records on many sites, both for free and for a fee. In another post, we'll discuss the differences between the free and paid websites and why you might want to pay for information.
You'll find rich information on your ancestors in the Census records, but what if you want to know what happened in the 10-year gap? What if the US Census records you need were among those lost to fire? What if you can't find someone that you are absolutely sure lived within the 10-year gap? Try the State Census records.
Florida is one of several states who conducted a State Census every 10 years, between the years of the US Census. Not all counties are included, but it's worth taking a look at the 1885, 1935 and 1945 State Census records for Florida. Take a look at the sites below to access them:
|Ancestry.com||Free index with registration, fee for images|
|FamilySearch (pilot)||Free (1885 not indexed, images only)|