Virtual time travel: 118-year-old Michigan census records go online
David Moore November 28, 2012 | WGVU Numbers and information from two very old Michigan census counts are now available online. As WGVU’s David Moore reports, the 1884 and 1894 enumerations go a long way to fill in gaps in previous reports.
Over the decades, census counts have asked more and more questions, carried more and more information. But the first few were long on generalities and short on family and household details.
Jessica Miller is an archivist with the Archives of Michigan and notes those early versions were bare bones affairs.
Miller says “Prior to 1884, information was only recorded about the men and everyone else was just given a checkmark. So 1884 and 1894 were the first to contain detailed information about women and children and boarders and folks like that.”
Miller says some 62,000 census records from those two counts can now be searched online and printed for free.
Michigan’s first census was taken in 1827, ten years before statehood. The first national count was in 1790 during the first full year of George Washington’s presidency.
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