If you are doing genealogical research, the Federal Census, opens a new window is a great place to look. The census is available online every ten years, from 1790 until 1940. It is made public for research seventy-two years after it is taken, so the 1950 Federal Census will be available in April of 2022. Census data is available on Ancestry Library Edition, opens a new window and MyHeritage, opens a new window, both of which can be accessed with a Herrick library card. Each census has different information. For example, the censuses for 1790-1840 only list the name of the head of the family, and there are marks for how many individuals are in each household. Beginning in 1850, the census becomes more helpful—every name in the family is listed, along with the age and status (wife, son, daughter, etc.). It also lists each person’s birthplace. In 1900, another helpful question was added: If a person immigrated to the United States, it lists the year of immigration and whether the person was naturalized. The census for 1890, unfortunately, is not available because the majority of it was burned in a fire.
There are also some state censuses, although not nearly as many. Michigan had a state census done in 1884 and 1894, and Herrick has some local indexes for these censuses. Herrick also has resources on how to use the census If you have questions about accessing census information please ask a staff member at the Information Desk for help.