U.S. Nonpopulation Census Schedules, 1850-1880
This microfilmed collection contains the agricultural censuses for Minnesota in 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880. For each farm unit enumerated, information is given on the name of the owner, agent, or manager; amount and/or value of land, implements and machinery, livestock, homemade manufactures, slaughtered animals, and forest products; wages paid, and total value of the farm.
MNHS call number:
Minnesota State Farm Census, 1921-1960
A serial published by the U.S. Dept of Agriculture in cooperation with the MN Dept of Agriculture. This census does not list individuals. It does, however, list annual statistical information about crops, farm ownership, and agricultural practices.
MNHS call number: HD1775.M6 M72 (1921-1922) and HD1775.M6 M73 (1923-1960)
Federal Census for Minnesota, 1850-1930
The federal census occurred in the years ending in “0” beginning with 1850. There was an additional territorial census taken by the federal government in 1857. Although Indian people were not supposed to be listed before 1875, some are listed in the 1850 census. Note: the 1900 census had a separate Indian census schedule.
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (Microfilm). You can also access these census records through the subscription database Ancestry.com. This database is free of charge for library visitors.
Minnesota State Census, 1849-1905
The Minnesota state censuses were taken in 1865, 1875, 1885, 1895, and 1905. The territorial government also took a census in 1849, 1853, 1855, and 1857. Despite governmental instructions to the contrary in the early years, some Indian people are listed.
MNHS call number: Online index, see the finding aid in the library (Microfilm).
Plat Maps can also help you determine the location of the family farm. Plat maps in county atlases show land ownership, which often indicates farm ownership, in rural townships. They show the size and location of your family's farm and can provide some insight into identifying neighbors. During the late 19th and early 20th century, these maps included colorful hand drawn maps and promoted local communities and businesses by including advertisements, photographs of notable residents and buildings, and property owner indexes.
To locate your family farm on the plat map, take the information you grabbed from the census (county and township), and find the related plat map online or at the Library:
Census Records- Census records identify, record, and quantify some aspect of life in a particular area. Often they are used for individual people, but there are other kinds of census records available to researchers. Additional information about census records can be found on our Census Records Research Guide.
Plat Map- Plat maps in county atlases show land ownership, which often indicates farm ownership, in rural townships. They show the size and location of your family's farm and can provide some insight into identifying neighbors. Additional information about plats can be found in our Maps at MNHS Research Guide.
Gale Family Library
Minnesota Historical Society Library
Located on the Second Floor of the Minnesota History Center
345 West Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55102
Thursday to Saturday: 10am to 4pm
Sunday to Wednesday: Closed