Objective: To locate a specific person who lived in Pennsylvania in 1850. In this example we are tracking Andrew Kate, who lived in Pennsylvania, and may have been counted in the Federal Population Census for Pennsylvania in 1850. We want to confirm this information and determine any other information about his family collected by the census enumerator in 1850.
1850 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.
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.
Begin in Microforms & Government Information, 2nd floor Paterno, and locate the books titled, Pennsylvania Census Index 1850 (Call number: HA605.P45 1850 v.1 (A-K) and HA605.P45 1850 v. 2 (M-Z)) in the Indexes and Guides Section. These volumes contain the names of the heads of the family listed in the 1850 Census: Pennsylvania.
Locate the person you are searching in the Pennsylvania Census Index. Names are listed in alphabetical order by last name. To follow along with our example, you will find KATE, ANDREW listed on page 806. See Example 1 below.
Example 1: Showing the entry for Andrew Kate on page 806 of the Pennsylvania Census Index 1850
Step 3: Review the entry information provided for each name entry in the Pennsylvania Census Index. We have highlighted in red the information for Kate, Andrew in Example 1 above.
Visit US GenWeb Census Project to determine if any census information is recorded online for Andrew Kate in 1850. This is an ongoing project with new data continuously being added [Note: for this example, as of 4/21/08, the census records for 1850 for Cambria County are available online. See links below:]
The transcribed index can be viewed here. (The index lists Andrew Kate as a 25 year old male born in Germany, living in Cambria County.)
The transcribed entry can be viewed here. (This entry shows that Andrew Kate is a 25 year old male who works as a laborer and lives in a boardinghouse.) Since this is a transcription of the original documentation, it is subject to human error. To view the original document via the microfilm, continue with step 4.
Step 4: Before leaving the Pennsylvania Census Index, write down the following information:
Then, locate the 1850 Census: Pennsylvania on microfilm in Microforms & Government Information, 2nd floor Paterno, in the microfilm cabinets under the call number HA217.U5PA 1850 reels 743 – 840. The National Archives lists the contents for the 1850 Federal Population Census microfilm reels. This information has also been transcribed into a chart on the next to last page of the 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 Andrew Kate, find reel No. 761 of the 1850 Census: Pennsylvania containing Cambria County.
At this point you will need to use a microfilm reader/printer/scanner machine in Microforms & Government Information, 2nd floor Paterno, to locate and read the entry for Andrew Kate. Please ASK the staff at the Reference Desk for help if you are unfamiliar with the machines.
Step 6: Now, using our example, Andrew Kate, you will need to find the original ledger page (181) by scrolling through the microfilm until you locate page 181. These ledger Page Numbers are typed on the top right hand side of the page. (See Example 2 below).
Example 2: Showing the location of the page number on the original page ledger.
Then, you will need to locate Andrew Kate’s name on the ledger page. A blank 1850 census form from Ancestry.com can be printed to assist your collection of data from the microfilm.
Names of individuals are not in alphabetical order on the ledger page. Read the page carefully to locate Andrew Kate’s name. The 19th Century script and the microfilm quality can sometimes present interesting challenges for the researcher!
Example 3: Showing the names on Ledger Page 181 and Andrew Kate’s name on that page.
Step 7: Review the information collection for Andrew Kate. (See example 4)
In 1850, the following 13 columns of information were collected:
1. Dwelling – houses numbered in the order of visitation
2. Families – numbered in order of visitation
3. The name of every person whose usual place of abode on the first day of June 1850 was in this family
7. Profession, occupation, or trade of each male person over 15 years of age
8. Value of Real Estate owned
9. Place of birth – naming the State, Territory, or Country
10. Married within the year
11. Attended school within the year
12. Persons over the age of twenty years of age who cannot read and write
13. Whether deaf and dumb, blind, insane, idiotic, pauper, or convict
This was the first year that all of the members of the family are listed in the census after the head of the household.
Example 4: Copy of the original ledger page with all of the information for Andrew Kate.
Andrew Kate was a 25 year old male who lived in a boardinghouse. His occupation was a laborer and he was born in Germany.
|Reel No.||Names of Counties (Pennsylvania)||Note|
|Reel 744||Allegheny (part)||Allegheny, Ross, Reserve, Pine, Sharpsburg, Manchester, Ohio, Duquesne, Franklin|
|Reel 745||Allegheny (part)||City of Pittsburgh (Wards 1-4)|
|Reel 746||Allegheny (part)||City of Pittsburgh (Wards 5-9)|
|Reel 747||Allegheny (part)||East Deer, West Deer, Tarenton, Indiana, Shale, Jefferson, West Elizabeth, Baldwin, Elizabeth, Versailles, McKeesport, Wilkins, Patton, Plum, Lawrenceville, Peebles, Collins|
|Reel 748||Allegheny (part)||Pitt, East Birmingham, Birmingham, South Pittsburgh, Lower St. Clair, Mifflin, Upper St. Clair, Snowden, Robeson, South Fayette, North Fayette, Findley, Moon|
|Reel 752||Berks (part)||Marion, Womelsdorf, Tulpehoccan, Penn, Centre, Upper Tulpehoccan, Upper Bern, Upper Heidelburg, Bethel, Noth Heidelburg, Reading|
|Reel 753||Berks (part)||Exeter, Alsace, Bern, Lower Heidelburg, Oley, Washington, Hereford, Longswamp, Maxatawny, Kutztown, Richmond, Greenwich, Albany, District|
|Reel 754||Berks (part)||Antalawny, Maidencreek, Ruscombmanor, Rockland, Hamburg, Windsor, Perry, Union, Douglass, Colebrookdale, Cumru, Brecknock, Caernarvon, Robeson, Amity, Pike, Earl|
|Reel 756||Bradford (part)||Troy, Athens, Ulster, Smithfield, Springfield, Towanda, Burlington, Franklin, Le Roy, Granville, Canton, Rome|
|Reel 757||Bradford (part)||Orwell, Pike, Windham, Herrick, Litchfield, Monroe, Albany, Durell, Wysox, Sheshequin, Wilmot, Asylum, Springhill, Standing Stone, Wyalusing, Armenia, Columbia, Wells, South Creek, Ridgebury|
|Reel 758||Bucks (part)||Lower Makefield, Newtown, Wrightstown, Upper Makefield, Buckingham, Warrington, Warwick, Falls, Morrisville, Solebury, New Hope, Plumstead, Bedminster, Hilltown, New Britain, Middletown|
|Reel 759||Bucks (part)||Bristol, Bensalem, Northampton, Southampton, Warminster, Milford, Rockhill, Haycock, Springfield, Durham, Nockamixon, Tinicum, Richland, Doylestown|
|Reel 764||Chester (part)||West Nottingham, East Nottingham, Upper Oxford, Lower Oxford, Oxford, Penn, London Grove, New London, London Britain, Londonderry, Newlin, West Marlborough, Wast Marlborough, Kennett, New Garden, East Bradford, West Bradford, East Goshen, West Goshen, Willistown, West Chester, East Town, Tredyffrin, Charlestown|
|Reel 765||Chester (part)||East Pikeland, West Pikeland, Uwchland, West Vincent, East Vincent, Phoenixville, Pocopson, Pennsbury, Schylkill, South Coventry, East Coventry, North Coventry. Warwick, West Nantmeal|
|Reel 766||Chester (part)||East Nantmeal, East Caln, West Caln, East Brandywine, West Brandywine, Sadsbury, West Fallowfield, East Fallowfield, Honeybrook, Westtown, Birmingham, Thornbury, West Whiteland, East Whiteland|
|Reel 768||Clearfield and Clinton|
|Reel 770||Crawford (part)||Spring, Beaver, Cussewago, Hayfield, Summerhill, Conneautville, Conneaut, Meadville, Mead, Vernon, Pine, Summit|
|Reel 771||Crawford (part)||West Fallowfield, Sadsbury, South Shenango, Titusville, Oil Creek, Rome, Sparta, Troy, Randolph, Wayne, Woodcock, Richmond, Venango, Rockdale, Athens, Bloomfield, East Fallowfield, Fairfield, Greenwood, North Shenango|
|Reel 772||Cumberland (part)||Upper Allen, Lower Allen, North Middleton, West Pennsboro, Frankford, Upper Dickinson, Lower Dickinson, South Middleton, Hopewell, Southampton, Shippenburg|
|Reel 773||Cumberland (part)||Mechanicsburg, Monroe, Silver Spring, Newville, Newton, Mifflin, Carlisle, New Cumberland, East Pennsboro, Hampden|
|Reel 774||Dauphin (part)||Harrisburg, Reed, South Hanover, Hummelstown, Derry, Middletown, Upper Swatara, Lower Swatara, Londonderry|
|Reel 775||Dauphin (part)||Susquehannah, Dauphin, Middle Paxton, Lower Paxton, Canewago, Halifax, Jackson, Jefferson, Rush, West Hanover, East Hanover, Wiconesco, Lykens, Mifflin, Washington, Upper Paxton|
|Reel 776||Delaware and Elk|
|Reel 777||Erie (part)||Amity, Wattsburg, Wayne, Concord, Union, Le Beouf, Venango, Greenfield, Harborcreek, North East, Greene, Fairview, Erie|
|Reel 778||Erie (part)||Mill Creek, Waterford, Washington, Edinboro, Franklin, Elk Creek, McKean, Girard, Springfield, Conneaut|
|Reel 779||Fayette (part)||Wharton, German, Georges, Springhill, Nicholson, Henry Clay, Menallen, Union|
|Reel 780||Fayette (part)||Franklin, Dunbar, Perry, Jefferson, Brownsville, Bridgeport, Redstone, Luzerne, Washington, Cookstown, Connellsville, Tyrone, Bullskin, Saltlick, Springfield, Youghiogheny|
|Reel 781||Franklin (part)||Warren, Mercersburg, Montgomery, Peters, Guilford, Washington, Waynesboro, Greene, Chambersburg|
|Reel 782||Franklin (part)||Hamilton, St. Thomas, Letterkenny, Metal, Southampton, Lurgan, Fannet, Quincy, Greencastle, Antrim|
|Reel 783||Fulton and Greene|
|Reel 786||Jefferson and Juniata|
|Reel 787||Lancaster (part)||Little Britain, Colerain, Bart, Drumore, Martic, Manor, Columbia, Conestoga, Conoy, Bainbridge, Manheim, Raphoe, Marietta|
|Reel 788||Lancaster (part)||Mount Joy, West Donegal, East Donagal, Warwick, Fulton, East Hempfeld, West Hempfield, East Lampeter, West Lempeter, Lancaster, City of Lancaster|
|Reel 789||Lancaster (part)||Sadsbury, Salisbury, Strasburg, Leacock, Upper Leacock, Ephrata, Blue Ball, New Holland, Earl, West Earl, Elizabeth, Paradise, Penn, Brecknock, East Cocalico, West Cocalico, Caernarvon|
|Reel 793||Luzerne (part)||Kingston, Dallas, Jackson, Franklin, Exeter, Plymouth, Lehman, Lake, Ross, Union, Salem, Huntington, Fairmount, Ransom, Newton, Scott, Benton, Madison, Jefferson, Fell, Greenfield, Providence, Carbondale|
|Reel 794||Luzerne (part)||Wilkes-Barre, Hanover, Denison, Black Creek, Butler, Dorrance, Sugarloaf, Buck, Hazle, Newport, Hollenback, Nescopeck, Blakely, Covington, Abingdon, Lackawanna, Pittston|
|Reel 795||Lycoming and McKean|
|Reel 799||Montgomery (part)||Franconia, Lower Salford, Perkiomen, Pottsgrove, Limerick, Pottstown, Whitemarsh, Frederick, New Hanover, Douglass, Upper Hanover, Whitepain, Worcester, Upper Providence, Upper Salford, Marlboro|
|Reel 800||Mongomery (part)||Cheltenham, Mooreland, Upper Merion, Conshohocken, Plymouth, Springfield, Horsham, Upper Dublin, Gwynedd, Montgomery, Lower Providence, Abington, Lower Merion, Towamensing, Hatfield, Norristown|
|Reel 802||Northampton (part)||Williams, Saucon, Forks, Easton, Upper Nazareth, Lower Nazareth, Bethlehem|
|Reel 803||Northampton (part)||Hanover, East Allen, Allen, Lehigh, Bushkill, Plainfield, Moore, Lower Mt. Bethel, Upper Mt. Bethel|
|Reel 806||Philadelphia (excluding City of Philadelphia) (part)||Kensington wards 1-4|
|Reel 807||Philadelphia (excluding City of Philadelphia) (part)||Kensington wards 1-4|
|Reel 808||Philadelphia (excluding City of Philadelphia) (part)||Kingsessing, Whitehall, Lower Dublin, Manayunk, Moreland|
|Reel 809||Philadelphia (excluding City of Philadelphia) (part)||Mayamensing|
|Reel 810||Philadelphia (excluding City of Philadelphia) (part)||Northern Liberties wards 1-4|
|Reel 811||Philadelphia (excluding City of Philadelphia) (part)||Northern Liberties wards 5-8|
|Reel 812||City of Philadelphia (part)||Cedar, South, Lombard|
|Reel 813||City of Philadelphia (part)||Pine, Spruce, Walnut, Chestnut|
|Reel 814||City of Philadelphia (part)||Middle, Locust|
|Reel 815||City of Philadelphia (part)||North Mulberry, South Mulberry|
|Reel 816||City of Philadelphia (part)||Lower Delaware, Upper Delaware, High Street|
|Reel 817||City of Philadelphia (part)||North, New Market, Dock|
|Reel 818||Philadelphia (excluding City of Philadelphia) (part)||Spring Garden District wards 1-3|
|Reel 819||Philadelphia (excluding City of Philadelphia) (part)||Spring Garden District wards 4-6|
|Reel 820||Philadelphia (excluding City of Philadelphia) (part)||N. Penn, Oxford, Passyunk, Penn, Ritchmond, Roxborough|
|Reel 821||Philadelphia (excluding City of Philadelphia) (part)||Southwark wards 1-3|
|Reel 822||Philadelphia (excluding City of Philadelphia) (part)||Southwark wards 4-6|
|Reel 823||Philadelphia (excluding City of Philadelphia) (part)||Unincorporated, Aramingo, West Philadelphia|
|Reel 824||Philadelphia (excluding City of Philadelphia) (part)||Blockley, Bridesburg boro, Bristol, Byberry, Frankford, Germantown|
|Reel 826||Schuylkill (part)||West Brunswick, East Brunswick, Orwigsburg, Schuylkill Haven, South Manheim, Minersville, Branch, North Manheim, Lower Mahantongo, Porter, Frailey, Upper Mahantongo, Wayne, Pine Grove, Fremont, Union, Rush, Butler|
|Reel 827||Schuylkill (part)||Barry, Cass, Blythe, New Castle, East Norwegian, Tamaqua, West Penn, Schuylkill, Pottsville, Norwegian|
|Reel 828||Somerset and Sullivan|
|Reel 832||Venango and Warren|
|Reel 833||Washington (part)||Smith, Robinson, North Strabane, Peters, Hanover, Cecil, Mount Pleasant, East Bethlehem, Millsborough, West Brownsville, Greenfield, East Pike Run, West Bethlehem, Somerset, Nottingham, Carroll|
|Reel 834||Washington (part)||Monongahela, Union, Fallowfield, West Pike Run, South Strabane, Chartiers, Washington, Amwell, Canonsburgh, Morris, Canton, Buffalo, West Finley, Cross Creek, Donegal, Claysville, Hopewell, West Middletown, East Finley|
|Reel 836||Westmoreland (part)||Franklin, Allegheny, North Hunt, Salem, Washington, Loyalhanna, Ligioner, Mt. Pleasant, Donegal, Fairfield, East Huntingdon|
|Reel 837||Westmoreland (part)||Adams, Greensburg, Hempfield, Mississinewa, West Newton, South Huntingdon, Sewickley, Rostraver, Unity, Derry|
|Reel 839||York (part)||Fawn, Hopewell, Peach Bottom, Shrewsbury, Lower Chanceford, Chanceford, Hanover, Dover, Manheim, Heidelberg, North Codorus, South Codorus, Paradise, York|
|Reel 840||York (part)||Windsor, Hellam, Spring Garden, Wrightsville, Lower Windsor, Manchester, Springfield, West Manchester, Conewago, Managhan, Carroll, Dillsburg, Lewisberry, Newberry, York Haven, Fairview, New Market, Rossville, Warrington, Washington, Franklin|