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1790 Census: Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1790


The First Census of the United States (1790) comprised an enumeration of the inhabitants of the present states of Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia.

A complete set of the schedules for each state, with a summary for the counties, and in many cases for towns, was filed in the State Department, but unfortunately they are not now complete, the returns for the states of Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Virginia having been destroyed when the British burned the Capitol at Washington during the War of 1812.

In response to repeated requests from patriotic societies and persons interested in genealogy, or desirous of studying the early history of the United States, Congress added to the sundry civil appropriation bill for the fiscal year 1907 and, when those funds were insufficient, provided for the continuance of authority to publish these important records with the urgent deficiency bill, approved February 15, 1908.

The schedules of New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maryland were published in 1907 and Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Carolina were published in 1908, thus completing the roster of the heads of families in 1790 so far as they can be shown from the records of the Census Office. As the Federal census schedules of the state of Virginia for 1790 are missing, the lists of the state enumerations made in 1792, 1783, 1784, and 1785 have been substituted and, while not complete, they will, undoubtedly, prove of great value.


All of the volumes contain the same introduction, information about the First Census, historical background on the United States in 1790, a copy of the First Census Act, and a sumary table providing the total population of the United States, the 16 states, and the southwest territory. Additionally, each state volume contains 1) summary tables of the population by counties, towns, etc., 2) a list of the names of the state's assistant marshals by districts, and 3) tables listing the names of heads of families for each county by towns.

The Virginia volume is a compilation of summary tables for population and buildings, population counts by counties for 1782, 1783, 1784, and 1785, a list of the names of the heads of families for Greenbriar County in 1783-1786, and counts of the inhabitants and property of the City of Richmond for 1782.

A Note on Language

Census statistics date back to 1790 and reflect the growth and change of the United States. Past census reports contain some terms that today’s readers may consider obsolete and inappropriate. As part of our goal to be open and transparent with the public, we are improving access to all Census Bureau original publications and statistics, which serve as a guide to the nation's history.

Page Last Revised - December 16, 2021
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