Updated February 7, 2005
On January 10, 1921, a fire in the Commerce Department building, Washington, DC, resulted in the destruction of most of the 1890 census, to the woe of researchers ever since. For more detailed information, see Kellee Blake, "'First in the Path of the Firemen:' The Fate of the 1890 Population Census," Prologue: Quarterly of the National Archives, Vol. 28, No. 1, pp. 64-81 (Spring 1996), Part 1 and Part 2.
Some fragments of the 1890 census did survive, however, and they are very useful to researchers. The surviving parts include:
(1) General population census schedules
(2) Schedules of Union Civil War Veterans or their widows
(3) Oklahoma territorial schedules
(4) List of selected Delaware African-Americans,
(5) Statistics of Lutheran congregations
(6) Statistical information for the entire United States
To check which NARA facilities have the microfilm discussed in this article, search the Online Microfilm Catalog. To purchase this microfilm, see How to Obtain Microfilm
(1) General Population Census Schedules. Over 6,160 persons are included in the surviving fragments of the general population census schedules for 10 states and the District of Columbia reproduced in National Archives Microfilm Publication M407, Eleventh Census of the United States, 1890 (3 rolls).
Roll 1 includes only Perryville Beat No. 11 and Severe Beat No. 8, Perry Co., Alabama.
Roll 2 includes only Q, R, S, 13th, 14th, 15th, Corcoran, and Riggs Streets, and Johnson Avenue in the District of Columbia.Roll 3 includes:
- Columbus, Muscogee Co., Georgia
- Mound Twp., McDonough Co., Illinois
- Rockford, Wright Co., Minnesota
- Jersey City, Hudson Co., New Jersey
- Eastchester, Westchester Co., New York
- Brookhaven Twp., Suffolk Co., New York
- Twp. No. 2, Cleveland Co., North Carolina
- South Point Twp. and River Bend Twp., Gaston Co., North Carolina
- Cincinnati, Hamilton Co., Ohio
- Wayne Twp., Clinton Co., Ohio
- Jefferson Twp., Union Co., South Dakota
- Justice Pct. No. 6, Mountain Peak, and Ovilla Pct., Ellis Co., Texas
- Pct. No. 5, Hood Co., Texas
- Kaufman, Kaufman Co., Texas
- Pct. No. 6 and Justice Pct. No. 7, Rusk Co., Texas
- Trinity Town and Pct. No. 2, Trinity Co., TX
These schedules are indexed by National Archives Microfilm Publication M496, Index to the Eleventh Census of the United States, 1890 (2 rolls). Roll 1 contains surnames A through J and Roll 2 contains surnames K through Z. The index is arranged by surname, then by first name.
(2) Schedules of Union Civil War veterans or their widows are reproduced in
National Archives Microfilm Publication
Special Schedules of the Eleventh Census (1890) Enumerating Union
Veterans and Widows of Union Veterans of the Civil War (118 rolls). The schedules are arranged by state,
then by county, and then by locality. Schedules survive for persons on U.S. Navy Vessels or in Navy Yards, Washington, DC,
and the following states: Kentucky (part), Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota,
Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina,
North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma and Indian Territories, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota,
Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Surviving Kentucky schedules are for Adair, Bath, Bell, Boone, Bourbon, Boyd, Boyle, Bracken, Breathitt, Campbell, Carter, Casey, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Cumberland, Elliott, Estill, Fayette, Fleming, Floyd, Franklin, Gallatin, Garrard, Grant, Greenup, Harlan, Harrison, Jackson, Jessamine, Johnson, Kenton, Knott, Knox, Laurel, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lewis, Lincoln, Madison, Magoffin, Martin, Mason, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan, Nicholas, Owen, Owsley, Pendleton, Perry, Pike, Powell, Pulaski, Robertson, Rockcastle, Rowan, Russell, Scott, Wayne, Whitley, Wolfe, and Woodford counties, and for certain Federal, State, and local institutions throughout Kentucky.
These special schedules report the following information: name of the veteran (or if he did not survive, the names of both the widow and her deceased husband); the veteran's rank, company, regiment or vessel, date of enlistment, date of discharge, and length of service in years, months, and days; post office address of each person listed; disability incurred by the veteran; and any additional remarks about the veteran's service. For example, the schedule for Windsor Twp., Ashtabula Co., Ohio, reports that Amos H. King, post office Windsor, Ohio, was a private in Co. K, 105th Ohio Infantry. He enlisted August 10, 1862, was discharged June 24, 1865, for a total of 2 years, 10 months, and 14 days service, and was a prisoner 32 days. Although this census was intended to enumerate Union veterans and their widows, census takers often included Confederates and veterans of earlier wars.
(3) Oklahoma territorial schedules have been reproduced in National Archives Microfilm Publication M1811, First Territorial Census for Oklahoma, 1890. (1 roll). The census was taken on and after June 1, 1890. The following information is included for each person enumerated:
- Name of street or avenue
- dwelling number in order of visitation
- surname, first name, and middle name
- relationship to head of household
- age at last birthday
- place of birth (state or country)
- number of years in the United States
- length of residence in Oklahoma Territory
- whether naturalized
- for soldiers, their company and regiment
- whether able to read
- whether able to write
(4) Lists of selected Delaware African-Americans whose names appeared on the 1890 census survived by a quirk of fate, and have been reproduced in National Archives Microfilm Publication M1919, List of Selected African Americans from the 1890 and 1900 Federal Population Censuses of Delaware and Related Census Publications "Agriculture in the State of Delaware" (1901) and "Negroes in the United States" (1904) (1 roll). In addition to the lists of selected African Americans from the 1890 and 1900 censuses, this microfilm publication also includes government publications useful to general Delaware and African American historical research.
- The "1890 List" in this microfilm publication is a roughly alphabetical list of 454 African Americans,
noting for each: surname, first name, 1890 Enumeration District (ED) number, 1890 ED description, and occupation.
- The "1890-1900 Consolidated List" in this microfilm publication is an alphabetized list of the same 454
African Americans, noting for each: surname, first name, 1900 ED number, 1890 ED number, 1890 ED description, and
(5) Statistics of Lutheran congregations may be useful if you are researching someone who was a member or minister of a Lutheran congregation in 1890. National Archives Microfilm Publication M2073, Statistics of Congregations of Lutheran Synods, 1890 (1 roll) reproduces a list of each Lutheran church or local organization compiled by the Census Office from information submitted by officials of the Lutheran officials. The records are arranged by synod, then by State, then by locality. For each church or local organization, the following information is given in seven columns: (1) town or city, (2) county, (3) name of organization, (4) number or type of church edifice, (5) seating capacity, (6) value of church property, and (7) number of members. The church edifice column indicates the number of buildings used or owned by the church, or the type of building in which the church meets. The type of building used is frequently
indicated as "rented," "h" (probably "house"), or "sh" (probably "schoolhouse").
Note that names of ministers or members are not included.
Similar records for other denominations are not extant. However, detailed statistical information about all denominations can be found in Henry K. Carroll, Report on Statistics of Churches in the United States at the Eleventh Census: 1890 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1894), which is reproduced in National Archives Microfilm Publication T825, Publications of the Bureau of the Census, Roll 34.
(6) Statistical information for the entire United States was compiled and analyzed by the Census Office (later Census Bureau) following the completion of the 1890 census. These voluminous reports have been reproduced in National Archives Microfilm Publication T825, Publications of the Bureau of the Census, as follows:
|Publication Title & other information|
|25-26||1895||(Population) Report on population at the 11th Census. 1890. Part I. 1289 pages|
|26||1897||(Population) Report on population at the 11th Census. 1890. Part II. 1214 pages.|
|27||1895||(Population) Report on the insane, feeble minded, deaf and blind in the US at the 11th Census, 1890. 857 pages.|
|27||1896||(Population) Report on crime, pauperism and benevolence in US at the 11th Census, 1890. 476 pages.|
|27-28||1896||(Population - dependent, defective and delinquent classes; report on crime, pauperism and benevolence in US at the 11th Census, 1890. Part II. 1151 pages.|
|28||1896||Report on vital and social statistics in US at 11th Census, 1890. Part I: Analysis and rate tables. 1207 pages.|
|29||1896||Report on vital and social statistics in US at 11th Census, 1890. Part II: Vital statistics. 1293 pages.|
|29-30||1894||Report on vital & social statistics in US at 11th Census, 1890. Part III: Statistics of death by John S. Billings, MD 1101 pages.|
|30||1895||Report on vital & social statistics in US at 11th Census, 1890. Part IV: Statistics of death by John S. Billings, MD (Surgeon General, US Army, Expert Special Agent). 1131 pages.|
|31||1894-5||Agriculture; irrigation; fisheries (3 reports in one volume) 11th Census, 1890. Vol V. 1065 pages. Statistics of agriculture: 1895 Report on agriculture - irrigation in the western part of the US: 1894 Report on statistics of fisheries: 1894.|
|31-32||1895||(Manufacturing) Report on manufacturing industries in the US at the 11th Census, 1890. Vol VI, Part I. 1023 pages.|
|32||1895||(Manufactures) Report on manufacturing industries in the US at the 11th Census, 1890. Vol VI, Part II: Statistics of cities. 889 pages.|
|32-33||1895||(Manufactures) Report on manufacturing industries in the US at the 11th Census, 1890. Vol VI, Part III: Selected industries. 759 pages.|
|33||1892||Industry, mineral. Report on mineral industries in US at the 11th census, 1890, by David T. Day, Special Agent. 966 pages.|
|33||1893||Population & miscellaneous. Report on population and resources of Alaska at the 11th Census, 1890. Vol VIII. 392 pp.|
|33||1894||Religious bodies. Report on statistics of churches in the US at the 11th Census, 1890, by Henry K. Carroll, Special Agent. Vol IX. 914 pages.|
|33||1894||Population, Indians. Report on Indians taxed and Indians not taxed in US (except Alaska) at the 11th Census, 1890. Vol X. 947 pages.|
|33||1894||Insurance. Report on insurance business in the US at the 11th Census, 1890. Vol 11, Part 1: Fire, marine and inland insurance by Charles A. Jenney, Special Agent. 1177 pages.|
|33||1895||Insurance. Report on insurance business in the US at the 11th Census, 1890. Vol 11, Part 2: Life insurance by Charles A. Jenney, Special Agent. 498 pages.|
|36||1895||Real estate mortgages. Report on real estate mortgages in the US at the 11th Census, 1890 by George K. Holmes and John S. Lord, Special Agents. Vol 12. 1037 pages.|
|36-37||1896||Miscellaneous. Report on farms and homes: proprietorship & indebtedness in US at 11th Census, 1890. Vol 13.|
|37||1895||Transportation. Report on transportation business in the US at the 11th Census, 1890. Vol 14, Part I: Transportation by land.|
|37||1894||Transportation. Report on transportation business in the US at the 11th Census, 1890. Vol 14, Part II: Transportation by water. 545 pages.|
|38||1892||Report on wealth, debt and taxation at the 11th Census, 1890. Vol 15, Part I: Public debt, by J. Kendrick Upton, Special Agent. 940 pages.|
|38-39||1895||Report on wealth, debt and taxation at the 11th Census, 1890. Vol 15, Part II: Valuation and taxation, by J. Kendrick Upton, Special Agent. 689 pages.|
|39||1892||Compendium of the 11th Census, 1890. Vol 16, Part I: Population by Robert P. Porter, Superintendent. 1127 pages.|
|39-40||1894||Compendium of the 11th Census, 1890. Vol 16, Part II: Vital and social statistics; wealth, debt and taxation; mineral industries, insurance, foreign born population; manufactures. 1117 pages.|
|40||1897||Compendium of the 11th Census, 1890. Vol 16, Part III: Population, agriculture, manufactures, fisheries, transportation; wealth, debt and taxation; real estate mortgages; farms and home; Indians. 1185 pages.|
|40||1896||Abstract of the 11th Census, 1890. 325 pages.|
|41||1898||General: Statistical atlas of the US based upon the results of the 11th census, 1890, by Herbert Gannett. Vol 18. 174 pages.|
|40||1895||Vital statistics of Boston and Philadelphia covering a period of 6 years ending May 31, 1890, by John S. Billings, MD, Deputy Surgeon General, US Army, Expert Special Agent. 307 pages.|
|40||1893||Vital statistics of District of Columbia and Baltimore covering a period of 6 years ending May 31, 1890, by John S. Billings, MD, Deputy Surgeon General, US Army, Expert Special Agent. 335 pages.|
|41||1894||Vital statistics of New York City and Brooklyn covering a period of 6 years ending May 31, 1890, by John S. Billings, MD, Deputy Surgeon General, US Army, Expert Special Agent. 645 pages.|
|42||1895||States and cities: report on social statistics of cities in the US at the 11th Census: 1890, by John S. Billings, MD, Surgeon US Army, Expert Special Agent. 202 pages.|