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Genealogy > US Census Listings

Brief History

In the United States, the Census is a performed every 10 years, as mandated by the United States Constitution, and enumerates the population for primary purposes of allocating Congressional seats (congressional apportionment), electoral votes, and government program funding.  Some states or local jurisdictions also conduct local censuses.  The first census after the American Revolution was taken in 1790, and there have been 23 federal censuses since that time. The next census is scheduled for 2020.

Of course, the Census has an important secondary value - for genealogy. The US Census has a 72-year privacy rule, that is the results remain confidential for 72 years (a typical life span) before they are made public. The most recent Census made public was the 1940 Census, made public in 2012. The next one to be made public will be the 1950, to be released in 2022.  The 1940 Census, as well as all previous ones, are available at local libraries, online (free) at FamilySearch.org here, and at Ancestry.com.

Census Listings

The specific information collected varies some by each Census.  Here’s an example for 1930 (shown below with info for Salvatore Ridulfo). At the top: State (New York); County (Nassau); Township (Oyster Bay); Incorporated place (Farmingdale Village); Ward of City, Block No; Unincorporated place; Institution (e.g. a prison or orphanage); Enumerated on (April 23, 1930); Enumeration District (30-186); Supervisor’s District No. (36); Enumerator’s name.  For each household: Place of Abode - Street/Avenue/Road, etc. (Columbia Street), House Number (39), Sequential number of dwelling; Name of each person at this place of abode (as of 2 April 1930) and their relation (Rudulph, Charles, wife Mary, John and Charles Jr., aka Ridulfo, Salvatore, wife Marianna, son Giacomo / Jack, and Carmelo / Charles); Home data - owned or rented (Own), Value or monthly rent ($7000), Radio set (Yes); Live on a Farm (No); Personal description - sex (M), color or race (W), age at last (52) birthday, marital status (M), age at first marriage (22); Education - attended school at any time (No), whether can read or write (Yes); Place of birth (person, father and mother) (Italy); Mother Tongue (Italian); Citizenship - Year of immigration (1904), naturalization (Yes), whether able to speak English (Yes); Occupation (Machinist); Industry (Machine Shop); Employment (No); Veteran (No).

As you can from this US Census listing, ethnic first names were frequently listed “Americanized”.

NY Census - In New York State, there were also censuses performed in 1915 and 1925, in-between and to supplement the decennial US Censuses, and are an additional source of genealogical data for NY relatives.  Some other states and/or cities also have some supplemental censuses.

Ridulfo Archives - Click here to view the Ridulfo Family Census Archives.