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Census Records

Missing Censuses

Not every U.S. census is still in existence. The following schedules are missing or incomplete:

  • The 1790 federal census schedules for Virginia no longer exist.
  • Only two 1800 federal census schedules survive. These schedules are not available online.
    • Census Population Schedule: Virginia, Accomack County, 1800. Misc. Reel 293.
    • True, Ransom B. "The Manuscript Return of the Census of 1800." Louisa County Historical Magazine, Vol, 4, No. 1 (June 1972), p. 21–49.
  • The 1810 federal census schedules are missing for the following Virginia counties:
    • Grayson, Greenbrier, Halifax, Hardy, Henry, James City, King William, Lee, Louisa, Mecklenburg, Nansemond, Northampton, Orange, Patrick, Pittsylvania, Russell, Tazewell
  • The 1890 population schedules for all states were damaged in a 1921 fire. No Virginia schedules have survived.

1790 Census Substitutes

The original Virginia manuscript schedules for the 1790 and 1800 census have not survived. The schedules, which named the heads of households and contained the number of inhabitants in each household, were lost, and only published abstracts containing the number of inhabitants of each county survive.

The following publications can be used as substitutes for the 1790 census:

  • Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1790: Records of the State Enumerations: 1782-1785. Virginia. Athens, GA: Iberian Pub. Co., 1990.
    Online: US Census Bureau
    In 1908, the Census Bureau published a twelve-volume compilation of heads of households, prepared from manuscript lists of heads of households that the government of Virginia compiled in 1782, 1783, 1784, and 1785. These "Lists of Inhabitants," which cover forty localities, are available at the Library of Virginia as Miscellaneous Reel 1263. Similar lists for Richmond City are available for 1782, 1784, and 1788, the first of which was included in Heads of Families. These lists are found on Richmond reel 99.
  • Fothergill, Augusta B. and John Mark Naugle (compilers). Virginia Tax Payers, 1782–87: Other Than Those Published by the United States Census Bureau. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2008.
    First published in 1940, Virginia Tax Payers contains lists of taxpaying heads of households for thirty-five counties not covered in Heads of Families. The principal source is the earliest surviving state personal property tax list. The personal property tax returns, most of which begin in 1782, are available on microfilm at the Library of Virginia.
  • Schreiner-Yantis, Netti, and Florene Speakman Love. The 1787 Census of Virginia: An Accounting of the Name of Every White Male Tithable over 21 Years. Springfield, VA: Genealogical Books in Print, 1987.
    This three-volume publication was also issued as a series of individual county volumes. The authors' principal source was not a census but the 1787 state personal property tax lists. It is the only compilation of eighteenth-century Virginia taxpayers from one uniform source.

Researchers who use these sources are advised to consult the Virginia laws to learn what information the lists do and do not contain:

For a general overview of personal property tax records, see:

1810 Census Substitutes

Published substitutes for the missing Virginia schedules of the 1810 census include:

  • Schreiner-Yantis, Netti. A Supplement to the 1810 Census of Virginia; Tax Lists of the Counties for Which the Census Is Missing. Springfield, VA: N.p., 1971.
  • Vogt, John. Index to the 1810 Virginia Census: Including Heads of Households for Eighteen Missing County Censuses Extracted from Personal Property Tax Lists. Athens, GA: Iberian Publishing Company, 2013.