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New York, State Census, 1855 - FamilySearch Historical Records

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New York State Census, 1855
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
New York, 
United States
New York flag.png
Flag of New York
US Locator New York.png
Location of New York
Record Description
Record Type State Census
Collection years 1855
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites


What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]

The collection covers the population schedules for the 1855 New York state census records still in existence. Most counties are covered, but some records were destroyed.

The information is generally reliable. However use the information with some caution, since the information may have been given to a census taker by any member of the family or by a neighbor. Some information may have been incorrect or deliberately falsified.

General Information about New York Census records

New York State took a census every ten years from 1825 to 1875. They also took a census in 1892; then every ten years from 1905 to 1925. The early census was as much interested in agricultural production as in the number of inhabitants. Only the name of the head of household is listed from 1825 to 1845. Many of these early census records have been lost.

Beginning in 1855, the name of every person in the household is listed. The 1855 to 1875 census asked the person for the name of the county that person was born in, if they were born in New York State. That helps to narrow down the search for a birth place for New Yorkers. The 1865 census asked many questions about military service which are helpful in finding Civil War records.

It is unknown why a census wasn't taken in 1885. The census for 1892 is not as helpful as the previous census. It does not indicate where a family begins and contains no relationships so it is difficult to determine if people of another surname are part of the previous family. It only asks for a country of birth not a State nor NY County.

To Browse This Collection[edit | edit source]

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for New York, State Census, 1855.

What Can These Records Tell Me?[edit | edit source]

A census can provide you with names and ages of family members, which can then be used to calculate birth or marriage dates. It can provide the county and town where your ancestor lived, people living with (or gone from) the family, and relatives that may have lived nearby. The census may identify persons for whom other records do not exist. Information found in the population schedules of the 1855 New York State Census includes:

  • Name of every person whose usual place of abode was in the family on the 1st day of June, 1855
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Color
  • Relation to the head of the family
  • In what county of New York, or in what state or country born
  • Married
  • Widowed
  • Length of residence in this town
  • Occupation
  • Citizenship (native, naturalized, or alien)
  • Person of color, not taxed
  • Could read and write
  • Owned land
  • If deaf, dumb, or blind

Collection Content[edit | edit source]

Sample Image[edit | edit source]

The following counties are included in the 1855 New York, State Census

• Albany
• Allegany
• Broome
• Cattaraugus
• Cayuga
• Chautauqua
• Chenango
• Columbia
• Cortland
• Delaware
• Erie
• Essex
• Franklin
• Fulton
• Greene

• Herkimer
• Jefferson
• Kings
• Lewis
• Livingston
• Madison
• Monroe
• Montgomery
• New York
• Niagara
• Oneida
• Onondaga
• Ontario
• Orange
• Orleans
• Oswego

• Otsego
• Rensselaer
• Richmond
• Rockland
• Saratoga
• Schenectady
• Schoharie
• Schuyler
• Steuben
• Sullivan
• Tioga
• Ulster
• Warren
• Washington
• Yates

How Do I Search This Collection?[edit | edit source]

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The full name of your ancestor
  • The approximate age of the individual
  • The other names of family members

Search the Index[edit | edit source]

Search by name by visiting the Collection Details Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes in the Search Collection section with the information you know
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

View the Images[edit | edit source]

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:

  1. Select the County
  2. Select the Locality to view the images.


How Do I Analyze the Results?[edit | edit source]

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?[edit | edit source]

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details. The information may also lead you to other records about your ancestors.

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Use the age listed to determine an approximate birth date. This date along with the place of birth can help you find a birth record. Birth records often list biographical and marital details about the parents and close relatives other than the immediate family
  • Birth places can tell you former residences and can help to establish a migration pattern for the family
  • Use the naturalization information to find their naturalization papers in the county court records. It can also help you locate immigration records such as a passenger list which would usually be kept records at the port of entry into the United States
  • If they are subject to military service, they may have military files in the State or National Archives
  • It is often helpful to extract the information on all families with the same surname in the same general area. If the surname is uncommon, it is likely that those living in the same area were related
  • Be sure to extract all families before you look at other records. The relationships given will help you to organize family groups. The family groupings will help you identify related families when you discover additional information in other records
  • Married family members may have lived nearby but in a separate household so you may want to search an entire town, neighboring towns, or even a county
  • Additional searches may be needed to locate all members of a particular family in the census
  • You should also be aware that the census may identify persons for whom other records do not exist

I Can’t Find the Person I’m Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for nicknames and abbreviated names
  • Look for another index. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties
  • Consult the New York Record Finder to find other records

Research Helps[edit | edit source]

The following articles will help you in your research for your family in the state of New York.

Citing This Collection[edit | edit source]

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation can be viewed by clicking the drop-down arrow next to Document Information.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?[edit | edit source]

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Historical Records.

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