Census and Genealogy

Census information and records can be invaluable tools in genealogical research.

In addition to basic personal facts for each responder, Census records include detailed information that can help make connections across generations.

There are many television programs centered on genealogy obtained through the Census, “My Ancestry”, “Who Do You Think You Are?” and a new series “New Leaf” that will be aired this spring.

The program “Who Do You Think You Are?” used recorded Census information that counted African slaves and individuals are astonished from learning of their blood lines, believing they are of one ethnicity only to discover they are made of multiple races and ethnicity.

Information for using government records can be found in the US Census Bureau’s History Staff publication.

Questions asked by a Census questionnaire include:

Residence, name, relationships, age, place of birth, race, profession, immigration naturalization and citizenship. This does not mean that someone will be coming to your home to arrest or deport you.

Institutions holding Census related information:

  1. National Archives,
  2. Library of Congress,
  3. National Society, Daughter of the American Revolution,
  4. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter -Day Saints.
  5. Ellis Island.

If you saw the movie “Hitch” starring Will Smith. There is a scene in which Will takes his love interest to Ellis Island to review her genealogy, but her reaction was not as expected; however her ancestry information was obtained because of an accurate Census record.

We should not be afraid of being counted in the Census; in fact we should embrace it so that our descendants will have an accurate genealogy record.

Remember the 2020 Census is confidential for 72 years and the Census from 1950 will just be released for the first time in 2022.

The 2020 Census questionnaire can be completed by mail or online @my2020Census.gov.


The questionnaire takes only 10-15 minutes to complete. Please don’t delay – complete your Census questionnaire right away.

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