Great Lakes States – State and Territorial Censuses

I spoke on Wednesday at the National Genealogical Society Conference on “The Third Coast: How the Great Lakes Shaped America.” This lecture really just skims the surface of  topics one would need to know to do effective research in the Great Lakes States. (I put together this lecture and realized I had a lot to say on the subject and gave me the idea to develop an entire course on the subject.)

One thing I wish I had more time to discuss is the use of State and Territorial censuses in Great Lakes research. The following map I colorized to demonstrate the Great Lakes states that held state-level censuses, typically on “the fives” (e.g. 1855, 1865, and so on).


The states in green held state censuses, those in orange did not. Indiana (in yellow) did, but they are scattered or no longer exist. So, of the eight Great Lakes States, five of them offer this extra set of records that other states do not.

I share with you two resources for further study on this topic:

To make things a little easier, I have collated the information from both of these sources, as well as that from the appropriate state archives, to create a useful table regarding only the Great Lakes States. (Click here to download a PDF.)

So, if you had not considered whether or not your Great Lakes ancestors had been captured on a state or territorial census, I hope the above resources help you figure that out. Happy searching!

2 thoughts on “Great Lakes States – State and Territorial Censuses

  1. Cari, you did an excellent job compiling these into a PDF! I was happy to see the Quadrennial Census for Ohio included, for many have never heard of them. I’m saving this!

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