The census materials available in the Bizelli-Fleming Local History Collection are a valuable tool for historical and genealogical researchers. Census searching can yield some of the most detailed and accessible information available about persons and families living in the United States during the 1800's and early 1900's.
The first federal population census was taken in 1790. It was mandated by the Constitution for the purpose of apportionment in the House of Representatives. Since 1790 Federal censuses have been taken every ten years and, with the exception of 1890 which was destroyed, these records are available for public use up through 1930. Census records are considered confidential information and are not opened to the public for 73 years after they are taken. Censuses prior to 1850 list heads of household by name and identify other family members only by sex and age group. Beginning in 1850 each member of the household is listed by name.
Population censuses are arranged by state and within each state by county; within each county by township or enumeration district; and within each district households are listed as they were taken by the enumerator. Microfilmed federal census records for Missouri can be found in the library's collection for the years 1830-1930. Complete Federal Census records are available through Ancestry Library Edition.