Bell County, Texas Genealogy and History
    CENSUS RESOURCES   

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One of the most valuable resources for genealogy research is the federal census.  First put into place in 1790, this survey of America's population has provided a snapshot of the people who make up our great nation.  Although early census data was sketchy, it's amazing nevertheless to see evidence of our ancestors and where they lived.  As census taking evolved, the data became more detailed and methods more reliable.  However, keep in mind the accuracy of the data can vary.  During the 19th century, it was not as easy to reach remote areas and covering large territories took time on foot and horseback.  Neighbors were sometimes polled on behalf of others and many people were illiterate.  The 1870 census in the southern states most likely had some gaps, due to mistrust of the federal government after the Civil War.  And, of course, much of the 1890 census data was lost due to a 1921 fire in the basement of the Commerce Building in Washington, DC..

In November 2000, we initiated a project to acquire Bell County census data for our site which would be freely available to the public.  Following the lead of other TXGenWeb counties, we decided to utilize a cooperative project with SK Publications.  With a minimum order of census CDs, they would scan and clean up the census images, then press the CDs.  A library of the images would also be donated to our county's archives with USGenWeb.  Thanks to those of you who ordered CDs so far, the 1860 through 1880 census images are now in our online archives.  Now, we are working on enough orders for the 1900-1920 census CDs.  Enjoy!


1850 Federal Census of Milam County, Texas

Since Bell County was formed from Milam County during 1850, the first official federal census for the new county was not until 1860. Research prior to 1860 on families living in the region must rely on Milam County census data.
 

Index to Milam County 1850 census (external website)

Images Donor Credits and Details "Readme" File

Directory of Image Files, by Page Number

Order the 1850 Milam Co. TX Census Images on CD *


 


1860 Federal Census of Bell County, Texas

Donor Credits and Details "Readme" File

Directory of Image Files, by Page Number

Order the 1860 Census Images on CD *

One great aspect of this particular census is that our friends at the West Bell County Genealogical Society have transcribed an index.  This is a major asset to researching any census, since such an online index is fully searchable and far more legible than the original handwriting.  Through a cooperative agreement with WBGS, we are crosslinking each other's assets on this project.  You can find the 1860 index (household number order, linked to our images) in their archives:
http://www.rootsweb.com/~txwbgs/archives.htm

Recently, Rhonda A. Bell has also uploaded a transcription of the 1860 census to the USGenWeb Census Project.  It is done in both surname and household number order.  The alphabetical one can be especially useful to prove someone was on the census that year:
ftp://ftp.us-census.org/pub/usgenweb/census/tx/bell/1860/

 


1870 Federal Census of Bell County, Texas

Donor Credits and Details "Readme" File

Directory of Image Files, by Page Number

Order the 1870 Census Images on CD *

There is not yet an index online for the 1870 Bell County census, but mostly likely can be located at a library or on an online service such as Ancestry.com (fee-based).  One of our hopes is to transcribe an index for this census to be made freely available to researchers online.  If you are interested in volunteering for this valuable project, please contact Joe D. Deaver, TXBELL Coordinator!
 


1880 Federal Census of Bell County, Texas

Donor Credits and Details "Readme" File

Directory of Image Files, by Page Number

Order the 1880 Census Images on CD *

In October of 2002, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints posted their index online for the 1880 U.S. federal census.  You can search the entire country or just Bell County for individuals on that census.  While there are occasional typos on the index, the name search does use a soundex to find similar spellings:

LDS FamilySearch 1880 U.S. Census Index

 


1890 Federal Census of Bell County, Texas

Unfortunately, the 1890 federal census for most of the U.S., including Bell County, did not survive the 1921 fire in the basement of the Commerce Building in Washington, DC..  A tragic loss for genealogy researchers.

 

If you wish to order the 1860, 1870, or 1880 Census images on CD
 (larger images, due to no transmit time concerns),
 visit the SK Publications Bell County site at:
http://www.skpub.com/genie/census/tx/bell.html
You can also be placed on the waiting list for orders on the 1900-1920 census CDs. *

* SK Publications is a commercial entity which has generously initiated the "donor" arrangement with the USGenWeb network of county sites.  Bell County History and Genealogy site, USGenWeb, or TXGenWeb organizations have no legal affiliation with this company.  Although we highly recommend their services, any transactions are directly between the individual and SK Publications.  (We've heard great feedback so far!)

BE SURE TO ALSO VISIT:
USGenWeb Census Project for Texas
USGenWeb Archives - Online Census Images

Another USGenWeb Census Project
USGenWeb "Census Kidz" Project
Cydislist.com U.S. Census Resources
National Archives and Records Administration

[ TXBELL HOME PAGE ]     [ SK PUBLICATIONS ]     [ BELL CO ARCHIVES ]

2006 Copyright By Joe D. Deaver
Last modified: Wednesday, March 28, 2007 12:10:50 PM