The Bullitt County History Museum

Grandpa, Where Are You? - Census Records
by Betty R. Darnell

This is one in a series of researching tips taken from presentations by Betty R. Darnell, a noted local historian and genealogist. These notes are copyrighted by her.

What’s available?

Population census schedule

1790 – first census of the U.S. Records were destroyed by fire during War of 1812. First Census of KY, 1790, C. B. Heineman (Baltimore: Southern Book Co., 1956) – index of 1790s tax lists.

1800 – second census. Records destroyed during War of 1812. Second Census of KY, 1800, G. G. Clift (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1966) - index of 1800 KY tax lists.

1810-1840 – heads of household only, with household members groups by sex and age.

1850-1880 – census names every member of household.

1890 – census destroyed by fire in 1921.

1900-1930 – census names every member of household; census is released to public after 72 years.

Special census schedules

Slave Schedule (1850, 1860)

Mortality Schedule (1850-1880, for 12 months prior to census; e.g., 1 June 1849 through 31 May 1850)

Agriculture Schedule (1840-1910; 1900 and 1910 destroyed)

Manufacturing Schedule (1820, 1880)

Industry Schedule (1850, 1860, 1870; replaced Manufacturing Schedule)

Pensioners (on 1840 Population Schedule)

1880 DDD Schedule (Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent; 7 sections: Insane, Idiots, Deaf-mutes, Blind, Homeless children, Inhabitants in prison, Paupers and indigent persons in institutions)

1890 Veterans Schedule

State Census (none for KY; listed in The Source, 1984 edition, pp. 113-118)

Indian Census, 1840-1942 (listed in The Source, 1984 edition, pp. 110-112)

Where are the records?

  • Population and special census schedules for KY are on microfilm at the Archives room, Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives and at the KY History Center, both at Frankfort.

  • Population schedules for all states are on microfilm at many large libraries, such as Sons of the American Revolution Library, Louisville, and New Albany-Floyd County Public Library.

  • There are printed indexes for many of the population schedules. 1880, 1900, 1910, and 1920 censuses have been indexed by a soundex code. The indexes are available on microfilm at large libraries.

  • Many of the population schedules have been published by societies or individuals

  • Images of the Population schedules for the U.S. can be accessed on the Internet, at (fee-based service, or free at some libraries), or at HeritageQuestOnline (free access at many libraries, or free remote access with a library card)

  • Copy all information; may give you a clue later. Forms for copying census information are available at many libraries, as well as on the Internet.


An example:

1870 U. S. Census, Cape Girardeau County, Missouri, Randol Township, page 23, Augustus Thompson household; image, HeritageQuestOnline, from National Archives microfilm M593, roll 765, page 178.


  1. Map Guide to the Federal Censuses, 1790-1920, William Thorndale and William Dollarhide (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1992)
  2. The Handybook for Genealogists (Logan UT: Everton, various editions). Gives dates of establishment of all U.S. counties, parent counties, county seats, availability and location of records.
  3. The Census Book, William Dollarhide (Bountiful UT: Heritage Quest, 2000. Detailed information about each census, and forms to be used for copying census information.

The Bullitt County History Museum, a service of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is located in the county courthouse at 300 South Buckman Street (Highway 61) in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. The museum, along with its research room, is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday. Admission is free. The museum, as part of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization and is classified as a 509(a)2 public charity. Contributions and bequests are deductible under section 2055, 2106, or 2522 of the Internal Revenue Code. Page last modified: 08 Sep 2020 . Page URL: