Objective: To locate a specific person who lived in Pennsylvania in 1810.
In this example, we are tracking William Franklin who, we believe, lived in Philadelphia and may have been counted in the Federal Population Census for Pennsylvania in 1810. We want to confirm this information and determine any other information about his household collected by the census enumerator in 1810.
1810 Census: Pennsylvania reel listing located at end of guide.
The Internet can be a valuable tool to aid in your Census search. There are many sites that provide information. Census Online contains over 44,000 links to US census records, census calculators, and census forms from 1790-1930. The microfilm information and the internet information can be used together to complete a search for an individual. Links to Internet sources have been inserted throughout this document that complement and, in some cases, replace the print indexes or the census microfilm. Please note that the microfilm constitutes the primary source and should be consulted for errors in transcription.
Please ASK the staff at Microforms & Government Information, 2nd floor Paterno, at any time for additional help or clarification about how to locate the sources or information.
Step 1: Begin in Microforms & Government Information, 2nd floor Paterno, and locate the books titled, Pennsylvania Census Index (Call number: HA605.P45 1810) in the Indexes and Guides Section. These volumes contain the names listed in the 1810 Census: Pennsylvania.
Step 2: Locate the person you are searching for in the Pennsylvania Census Index. Names are listed in alphabetical order by last name. To follow along with our example, you will find William Franklin listed in the fourth column on page 87 as FRANKLIN, Wm. See Example 1 below.
Example 1: Showing the entry for Franklin, Wm in the Pennsylvania Census Index
Visit US GenWeb Census Project to determine if any census information is recorded online for William Franklin in 1810. This is an ongoing project with new data continuously being added [Note: for this example, as of 4/21/08, the census records for 1810 for Philadelphia County are not available online, so it is necessary to use the Census data available on Microfilm.]
Step 3: Review the entry information provided for each name entry in the Pennsylvania Census Index. We have highlighted in red the information for William Franklin in Example 1 above.
The ‘Key to Code and Page Numbers’ can be found on page III through page XXVI in the Pennsylvania Census Index.
The Code PWCD is Philadelphia City PW, Cedar Ward and is found on page XXIII of the Pennsylvania Census Index.
Step 4: Before leaving the Pennsylvania Census Index volume, write down the following information from the Pennsylvania Census Index:
Then, locate the 1810 Census: Pennsylvania on microfilm in Microforms & Government Information, 2nd floor Paterno, in the microfilms cabinets under the call number HA217.U5P4 1810 reels 44-57. The reels are arranged by call number in alphabetical order by county. The National Archives lists the contents for the 1810 Federal Population Census microfilm reels. This information has also been transcribed into a chart on the next to last page of this document.
If you need any help locating this call number in Microforms & Government Information, 2nd floor Paterno, microfilm cabinets, please ASK the staff at the Reference Desk.
Step 5: For our example, in order to locate the original ledger entry for William Franklin, we will find reel No. 55 of the 1810 Census Population Schedules containing the ‘City of Philadelphia.’
The reel is labeled:
At this point you will need to use a microfilm reader/printer/scanner machine which is located in Microforms & Government Information, 2nd floor Paterno. Please ASK the staff at the Reference Desk for help if you are unfamiliar with the machines.
Step 6: After loading the film on the microfilm reader/printer/scanner machine we will search for page 615 using the handwritten page numbers that are located in the bottom right hand corner of the microfilm. A blank 1810 census form can be viewed and printed to assist your collection of data from the microfilm.
Example 2: Contains the column headings for the ledger.
In 1810, the Head of the Family’s name is listed, followed by a series of 12 columns with numbers which should be interpreted as follows:
While reviewing the microfilm, it will be noted that the columns of numbers should be read from left to right because there are instances where the 12th column seems to be omitted from the page. There are several pages where the 12th column has dashes and then several pages where the 12th column is completely blank.
Names of individuals are not in alphabetical order on the ledger page. Read the page carefully to locate William Franklin’s name. The 19th century script and the microfilm quality can all present interesting challenges for the researcher!
Example 3: Showing the names on ledger page 249, microfilm page 615 and the details for William Franklin
William Franklin’s household had a total of eight people in 1810. There were 3 white males under the age of ten, 2 white males over the age of forty-five, 1 white female under the age of ten, 1 white female between the ages of sixteen and twenty-five, and 1 white female over the age of forty-five.
|Names of Counties ( Pennsylvania)
|Adams, Allegheny, Armstrong
|Bedford (Part I), Beaver, Berks
|Bedford (Part II), Bucks, Butler, Cambria, Centre
|Chester, Clearfield, Crawford, Delaware
|Greene, Indiana, Luzerne
|Huntingdon, Jefferson, McKean, Mifflin, Northampton, Tioga, Westmoreland
|Lycoming, Mercer, Montgomery
|Northumberland, Potter, Somerset, Venango, Warren
|Dauphin, Fayette, Franklin
|City of Philadelphia
|(excluding city of Philadelphia)
Washington, Wayne, York