Various Census Records
for Clay County
for Clay County, Missouri
Arranged Alphabetically by Township
--1830-39 Census Index
--1840 Federal Census Index
--1840 Pensioners List
--1850 Federal Census Index
--1850 Slave Schedules
--1860 Federal Census Index
--1860 Slave Schedules
--1870 Federal Census Index
--Early Census Index
By constitutional requirement, the federal government of
the United States conducts an enumeration of the nation
every ten years. Since the first census in 1790, the
returns from these censuses have become an invaluable
source of information for genealogists and others. This
collection of census records contains a vast amount of
information on millions of Americans.
Although the questions asked and information provided has
changed since that first census, there is some basic
information provided in all indexes. The name of the head
of the household is provided from the first census. In
1800, age categorization and residence was added to the
other questions regarding slaves, and number of males and
females. In 1820, categorization of occupation was added.
In 1830, categorization of deaf, dumb, and blind persons
was added. In 1850, the name, age, sex, color, place of
birth, and literacy was added to the questionnaire. In
1860, the value of real estate was an added feature of
the enumeration. And in 1880 the census added questions
relative to marital status, and parents' place of birth.
VETERAN SCHEDULES (1840-1890)
In 1840 an enumeration of living Revolutionary War
veterans was included in the census. This was a list of
names recorded on the back of the original printed census
forms. Beginning in 1870, the enumerators asked questions
regarding Civil War veterans and lists were compiled from
these records. In both cases, only the name of the
veteran is available.
At the 1850 and 1860 censuses, an enumeration of slaves
was performed. Full names were rarely recorded, yet each
slave was numbered. Organized by owner, each person was
listed with age, sex and color. With these details, along
with other facts gathered outside the schedule, it is
possible to locate a specific person without actually
finding their name.
Despite the wealth of information available in census
indexes, there are limitations. These include incomplete
information, mis-transcribed information, mis-recorded
information, and incorrect information. Reasons for these
problems include persons who refused to answer the
enumerators questions, persons who lied in answer to the
enumerators questions, persons missed by the enumerators,
and human error in writing down the information
originally or transmitted incorrectly.
For further, more detailed, information refer to Chapter
5 (pg. 103-146) in The Source, edited by Loretto Dennis
Szucs and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking, or Chapter 9 (pg.
301-352) in Printed Sources, edited by Kory L. Meyerink.
Jackson, Ronald V., Accelerated Indexing Systems, comp.
Missouri Census, 1830-70. [database on-line] Provo, UT:
Ancestry.com, 1999-. Compiled and digitized by Mr.
Jackson and AIS from microfilmed schedules of the U.S.
Federal Decennial Census, territorial/state censuses,
and/or census substitutes.
What Do I Do Now:
Remember than an index entry is only a reference to more
detailed information found in census records themselves.
It is important that researchers consult the actual
census records to which these indexes refer.
All available census schedules, from 1790 to 1920, have
been microfilmed and are available at the National
Archives in Washington, D.C., at the National Archives'
regional archives in twelve states, at the LDS Family
History Library and LDS family history centers throughout
North America, at many large libraries, and through
microfilm lending companies. Some state and local
agencies may have census schedules only for the state or
This page was last updated October 4, 2008.