By constitutional requirement, the federal government of the United States conducts an enumeration of the nation every ten years. Since the first census in 1790, the returns from these censuses have become an invaluable source of information for genealogists and others. This collection of census records contains a vast amount of information on millions of Americans. It was not until 1850 that the Federal Census started listing every one by name, before that only heads of household were listed by name.
The state of Michigan began taking a census in 1827, primarily to determine legislative apportionments, much like the federal government. The last census was in 1904, after which, Michigan used the numbers derived from the federal census. Unfortunately, many of the records have not survived. Those that have, though, are an amazing resource for Michigan genealogical research.
For St. Joseph County, there are only 3 censuses available: 1845 heads of household, 1884, and 1894. With the almost complete loss of the 1890 federal census, researches with roots in St. Joseph County can often find elusive ancestors in the very complete 1884 and 1894 state censuses. These records are the only ones I am aware of to have survived for our county. That is not to say that somewhere other years do not exist... I just don't know where. The 1845 is currently online here at this site, and the 1884 and 1894 is available at the Michigan Historical Library and possibly libraries in St. Joseph County. I have copies of some of the 1894 pages for Burr Oak and Sherman Township and hope to one day get them transcribed. If you are interested in helping with transcriptions of these invaluable documents, please email me.
Below are links to current transcriptions for St. Joseph County. Note that the 1820 census is for the Michigan territory. While St. Joseph wasn't yet a county, you may find some some information that may help you in your research.
The 1830 census is courtesy of our friends at the Kent County, Michigan GenWeb site. Be sure to use your back button to return to this site.
This page was last modified <Friday, 05-Dec-2008 13:03:33 MST >
This website is created and copyrighted 2006 by Joel Newport