What the 1790 Census Can Tell You about Your Family

The 1790 United States census contains very limited information about individual family members, especially compared to later censuses, but it can tell you:

  • The full name of one of your ancestors (the head of household)
  • How many adult males were in the ancestor’s household
  • How many male children were in the household
  • How many females were in the household
  • How many slaves and other persons were included in the household

1790 census records lists the names of heads of households, with marks representing the number of people in each category in the household. The full count for your ancestor’s household could include visitors, servants, relatives, and of course, the members of the immediate family.

Some members of the household may have been absent, living abroad or cared for by others when the 1790 census was taken. In that case, they would have been recorded as part of the household in which they lived on the day the census was taken.