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Census: Microfilm Collections & Services

This guide focuses on locating people in the census microfilm reels.

1830 Census

Objective: To locate a specific person who lived in Pennsylvania in 1830.  In this example we are tracking, who lived in Pennsylvania, and may have been counted in the Federal Population Census for Pennsylvania in 1830.  We want to confirm this information and determine any other information about this family collected by the census enumerator in 1830. 

1830 Census: Pennsylvania reel listing located at bottom 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. 

A blank 1830 census form can be viewed and printed to assist your collection of data from the microfilm.

Please ASK the staff at  Microforms & Government Information, 2nd floor Paterno Desk 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 1830 Census Index (Call number: HA605.P45 1830) in the Indexes and Guides Section.  

Step 2: Locate the person you are searching in the Pennsylvania 1830 Census Index. Names are listed in alphabetical order by last name.  To follow along with our example, you will find Foglesonger, Vendal on page 147.  See Example 1 below. 

Only the Heads of Household names are listed in this census.

Example 1:  Showing the entry for Foglesonger, Vendal on page 147.Head of household names

There are maps of Pennsylvania by state and by county in the Pennsylvania 1830 Census Index, preceding page one of the index.

Step 3:  Review the entry information provided for each name entry in the Pennsylvania 1830 Census Index. We have highlighted in red the information for Foglesonger, Vendal in Example 1 above. 

This includes:

  • Last name, first name—Foglesonger, Vendal
  • County (4 letter code)—FRAN
  • The page on the microfilm--210
  • Census Division within Each County (1st eight letters)—SOUTHAMT

Visit US GenWeb Census Project to determine if any census information is recorded online for Vendal Fogelsonger in 1830.  This is an ongoing project with new data continuously being added [Note:  for this example, as of 4/21/08, the census records for 1830 for Franklin County are available online.  See links below:]

View the transcribed index. (However, this index lists the first name as Uendal instead of Vendal, showing that when transcribed records are used, the information needs to be verified with the actual documentation)

(Outside of the incorrect spelling in the name, this entry shows that there are 6 people in this household.  Two white males between 20-30, two white females up to age 5, one white female between 15-20, and one white female between 20-30.)

View the transcribed entry.(In addition to the incorrect spelling in the name, this entry shows that there are 6 people in this household.  Two white males between 20-30, two white females up to age 5, one white female between 15-20, and one white female between 20-30.)

 

Step 4: Before leaving the Pennsylvania 1830 Census Index volume, write down the following information:

  • Name (first and last)
  • County
  • The page on the microfilm (210, in this example).

Then, locate the microfilm, which contains a copy of the original entries from 1830, in Microforms & Government Information, 2nd floor Paterno, in the microfilm cabinets under the call number HA217.U5P4 1830 reels 143 - 166. The National Archives  lists the contents for the 1830 Federal Population Census microfilm reels.  This information has also been transcribed into a chart near the end 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, to locate the original ledger entry for Foglesonger, Vendal find reel No. 151 of the 1830 Census: Pennsylvania containing Dauphin and Franklin Counties.

Piecing the two halves of the page together can be a challenge while reading them from the microfilm reader/scanner.  One suggestion is to count down the number of names on the ‘Heads of Families’ column to your entry, then count down the same number in the ‘Totals’ column.

Example 2:  Showing the location of the page number on the original page ledger.

1830 schedule

In 1830, the following information was collected and recorded by the census enumerator.  The Head of the Family’s name is listed, followed by a series of columns which should be interpreted as follows:

  1. Free White Males, including heads of families
    1. Number of free white males under five years of age
    2. Number of free white males of five and under ten
    3. Number of free white males of ten and under fifteen
    4. Number of free white males of fifteen and under twenty
    5. Number of free white males of  twenty and under thirty
    6. Number of free white males of thirty and under forty
    7. Number of free white males of forty and under fifty
    8. Number of free white males of fifty and under sixty
    9. Number of free white males of sixty and under seventy
    10. Number of free white males of seventy and under eighty
    11. Number of free white males of eight and under ninety
    12. Number of free white males of ninety and under one hundred
    13. Number of free white males of one hundred and upwards
  2. Free White Females, including heads of families
    1. Number of free white females under five years of age
    2. Number of free white females of five and under ten
    3. Number of free white females of ten and under fifteen
    4. Number of free white females of fifteen and under twenty
    5. Number of free white females of  twenty and under thirty
    6. Number of free white females of thirty and under forty
    7. Number of free white females of forty and under fifty
    8. Number of free white females of fifty and under sixty
    9. Number of free white females of sixty and under seventy
    10. Number of free white females of seventy and under eighty
    11. Number of free white females of eight and under ninety
    12. Number of free white females of ninety and under one hundred
    13. Number of free white females of one hundred and upwards
  3. Slaves
    1. Male slaves under ten years of age
    2. Male slaves of ten and under twenty-four
    3. Male slaves of twenty-four and under thirty-six
    4. Male slaves of thirty-six and under fifty-five
    5. Male slaves of fifty-five and under one hundred
    6. Male slaves of one hundred and upwards
    7. Female slaves under ten years of age
    8. Female slaves of ten and under twenty-four
    9. Female slaves of twenty-four and under thirty-six
    10. Female slaves of thirty-six and under fifty-five
    11. Female slaves of fifty-five and under one hundred
    12. Female slaves of one hundred and upwards
  4. Free Colored Persons
    1. Free colored males under ten years of age
    2. Free colored males of ten and under twenty-four
    3. Free colored males of twenty-four and under thirty-six
    4. Free colored males of thirty-six and under fifty-five
    5. Free colored males of fifty-five and under one hundred
    6. Free colored males of one hundred and upwards
    7. Free colored females under ten years of age
    8. Free colored females of ten and under twenty-four
    9. Free colored females of twenty-four and under thirty-six
    10. Free colored females of thirty-six and under fifty-five
    11. Free colored females of fifty-five and under one hundred
    12. Free colored females of one hundred and upwards
  5. White persons included in the foregoing
    1. Who are deaf and dumb, under fourteen years of age
    2. Who are deaf and dumb, of fourteen and under twenty-five
    3. Who are deaf and dumb, of twenty-five and upwards
    4. Who are blind
  6.  Aliens – foreigners not naturalized
    1. Slaves and colored persons included in the foregoing
    2. Who are deaf and dumb, under fourteen years of age
    3. Who are deaf and dumb, of fourteen and under twenty-five
    4. Who are deaf and dumb, of twenty-five and upwards
    5. Who are blind

information iconNames of individuals are not in alphabetical order on the ledger page. Read the page carefully to locate Vendal Foglesonger’s name.  The 19th Century script and the microfilm quality can sometimes present interesting challenges for the researcher!

Example 3: Showing the first page of the entry for Vendal Foglesonger. 

Note:  Although there appears to be a mark in the column to the right of the 2 female persons, (shown with a blue circle above) that is a mark on the microfilm copy, which was verified by the total number of people in the household in Example 4.

names not in order

Example 4:  Showing the total number of people in the household for Vendal Foglesonger.

1830 number of people in household

Vendal Foglesonger’s household had a total of six people in 1830.  There were 2 white males of twenty and under thirty, 2 white females under the age of five, 1 white female of fifteen and under twenty, and 1 white female of twenty and under thirty.  

 

Reel Number Names of Counties (Pennsylvania) Notes

1830 Census: Pennsylvania reels 143 - 166

Reel 143 Adams, Berks  
Reel 144 Allegheny  
Reel 145 Armstrong, Bradford, Luzerne  
Reel 146 Bucks  
Reel 147 Butler, Erie, Mifflin, Northumberland  
Reel 148 Chester  
Reel 149 Crawford, Mercer, Union  
Reel 150 Cumberland, Delaware  
Reel 150 Dauphin, Franklin  
Reel 152 Bedford, Indiana  
Reel 153 Lancaster  
Reel 154 Lebanon, Montgomery  
Reel 155 Lehigh  
Reel 156 Northampton, Perry  
Reel 157 Philadelphia County (in part) (excludes the city of Philadelphia)
Reel 158 Philadelphia County (in part) (excludes the city of Philadelphia)
Reel 159 City of Philadelphia  
Reel 160 Pike, Schuylkill, Wayne, York  
Reel 161 Cambria, Clearfield, Jefferson, McKean, Potter, Somerset  
Reel 162 Fayette, Greene, Susquehanna  
Reel 163 Tioga, Washington  
Reel 164 Venango, Westmoreland  
Reel 165 Beaver, Centre, Columbia, Warren  
Reel 166 Huntingdon, Lycoming