New Jersey, State Census, 1885 - FamilySearch Historical Records

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Access the records: New Jersey State Census, 1885 .

Collection Time Period[edit | edit source]

This census covers the residents of New Jersey in 1885.

Record Description[edit | edit source]

The census is a printed form that was filled in by hand by the enumerator. It is arranged by county and by township within each county.

Some records may be missing, including Jersey City (Hudson County) records from Family History Library film numbers 888618, 888619, 888620, 888621 and 888622.

Record Content[edit | edit source]

Key genealogical facts found in the 1885 New Jersey State Census are:

  • Name
  • Gender
  • Color
  • U.S., or foreign born
  • Age by class (under 5, 5-20, 20-60, over 60)

How to Use the Record[edit | edit source]

Begin your search by finding your ancestors in the census index. Use the locator information in the index (such as page number or family number) to locate your ancestors in the census. Compare the information in the census to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to compare the information of more than one family or person to make this determination. Be aware that as with any index, transcription errors may occur.

When you have located your ancestor in the census, carefully evaluate each piece of information about them. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. For example:

  • Use the age listed to determine an approximate birth date.
  • Use the race information to find records related to that ethnicity such as records of the Freedman’s Bureau of Indian censuses.
  • If they are foreign born, look for immigration and naturalization records.

It is often helpful to extract the information on all families with the same surname in the same general area. If the surname is uncommon, it is likely that those living in the same area were related.

Be sure to extract all families before you look at other records. The relationships given will help you to organize family groups. The family groupings will help you identify related families when you discover additional information in other records.

Some other helpful tips to keep in mind are:

  • Married family members may have lived nearby but in a separate household so you may want to search an entire town, neighboring towns, or even a county.
  • You may be able to identify an earlier generation if elderly parents were living with or close by a married child.
  • You may be able to identify a younger generation if a young married couple still lived with one of their sets of parents.
  • Additional searches may be needed to locate all members of a particular family in the census.

You should also be aware that the census may identify persons for whom other records do not exist.

For a summary of this information see the wiki article: United States, How to Use the Records Summary (FamilySearch Historical Records)

Record History[edit | edit source]

The state of New Jersey took a state census every 10 years beginning in 1855 and continuing through 1915. However, the 1885 census is the first to survive in its entirety.

Why This Record Was Created[edit | edit source]

The census was compiled to obtain a count of the population of the state to determine how many representatives the state would send to Congress.

Record Reliability[edit | edit source]

The information is generally reliable. However use the information with some caution, since the information may have been given to a census taker by any member of the family or by a neighbor. Some information may have been incorrect or deliberately falsified.

Related Web Sites[edit | edit source]

New Jersey Department of State

New Jersey 1880 Census Partial Index

This section of the article is incomplete. You can help FamilySearch Wiki by supplying links to related web sites here.

Related Wiki Articles[edit | edit source]

New Jersey

New Jersey Census

New Jersey Censuses Existing and Lost

Known Issues with This Collection[edit | edit source]

Important.png Problems with this collection?

It appears that several municipalities, including Jersey City in Hudson County, New Jersey are missing from the New Jersey State Census, 1885 collection. The issues are being investigated with the intent to add them to the collection in a future rework.

Workaround: films for missing cities can be ordered into the nearest Family History Center. For instructions on how to order a film or locate a Family History center, click to view a Wiki article entitled “Ordering Microfilm or Microfiche from a Family History Center.”

Contributions to This Article[edit | edit source]

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Historical Records/Guidelines for Articles.

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections[edit | edit source]

When you copy information from a record, you should also list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.

Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection[edit | edit source]

"New Jersey State Census, 1885." index and images, FamilySearch ( accessed 31 March 2011. entry for Elizabeth S Speackman, age 55; citing Census Records, FHL microfilm 888,603; New Jersey Department of Stade, Division of Archives and Record Management, Trenton, New Jersey.

Sources of Information for This Collection[edit | edit source]

New Jersey. State Census, 1885. New Jersey Department of State, Division of Archives and Record Management. Trenton, New Jersey.