University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point University Library
NELIS R. KAMPENGA
AREA RESEARCH CENTER
Room 506, University
Monday - Friday,
7:45-noon & 1:15-4:30
Due to a
small Archives staff and unanticipated eventualities,
patrons are urged to call ahead to verify public hours
for a given day or week.
TIPS FOR SEARCHING CENSUS RECORDS
- The census pinpoints where ancestors resided during specific years
of their lives and provides various details about them.
- Read the pages before and after the page you find your ancestor
on. Other family members living nearby may be discovered.
- Find each census for the life span of the ancestor. Compare the
information that is given every ten years. Discrepancies may be
found from census to census. Remember, the person who provided the
information to the enumerator is unknown. The quality of the
enumerator’s work is also not known. The researcher must consider
the information given in a census as leads, not necessarily facts.
Compare these sources with others whenever possible.
- The Federal Government has conducted an enumeration every ten
years since 1790.
- The UWSP Archives has the 1820–1930 Federal Censuses for the State
of Wisconsin including indexes for 1820–1880. (For 1930 the Archives
only has Adams, Juneau, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Portage,
Waupaca, Waushara, and Wood Counties.)
- In general, from 1790–1840, the Federal Census recorded only the
name of the head of the household and merely tabulated the number of
males and females in age categories. Since the 1850 Federal Census,
each person living in the household is listed by name.
- The 1890 Federal Census was almost completely destroyed by fire.
All that remains is a census of Union Veterans and their widows.
- The Territory and State of Wisconsin conducted its own
enumerations every ten years from 1836–1905. The UWSP Archives owns
all of these censuses.
- The 1905 State of Wisconsin Census is the only territorial or
state census that lists all members of a household by name.
- Access the UWSP Portage County Census Index for 1850-1880, & 1900
- For additional information on Federal, Wisconsin State, and
Canadian Censuses visit the Wisconsin Historical Society website at: