The Federal Government has conducted U.S. Population Censuses every 10 years beginning in 1790. Genealogists have learned to rely on the data provided on these censuses, and additional questions have been asked each time the census was taken. Beginning in the 1800s many individual states also conducted their own censuses, making them also valuable to researchers, especially since they often acted as substitutes for a missing federal census. Many also provide additional information.

A valuable source of information on all state censuses is Ann S. Lainhart’s book, State Census Records. A compilation of her book’s data can be found online at . It should be noted that no state census records are known to exist for 9 states: Connecticut, Idaho, Kentucky, Montana, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and West Virginia. Illinois became a state in 1818 and state censuses were taken in Illinois in 1818, 1820, 1825, 1830, 1835, 1845, 1855, and 1865. Researchers can search the 1855 and 1865 censuses free on FamilySearch ( . (which requires a subscription or can be accessed at a library having a subscription) has all Illinois state censuses except the ones taken in 1818 and 1820.

Bridget M. Sunderlin, owner of Be Rooted Genealogy, has posted an article on Family History Daily, “The Complete Guide to US State Census Records by Year,” at , which includes more information and illustrations of this valuable resource.

New Illinois newsletter online

The most recent Newsletter (Jan/Feb 2021) of the Illinois State Genealogical Society (ISGS) is now available, free, at the society’s website, Be sure to note important details of several Illinois counties as well as updates on upcoming conferences—most of which are VIRTUAL and FREE. Also, this issue’s “Tip from the Genealogist” answers the question, “How do I find my ancestors who lived in the city?”

Purple Heart Museum reopened

This country’s first museum dedicated to all recipients of the Purple Heart reopened in Orange County, New York on Veterans Day after a $17 million expansion. A description of this facility and details of the dedication ceremony are posted at The Roll of Honor is a searchable database of medal recipients and is a work in progress. More information on this facility can be found at

An interesting website with answers to questions such as “What to do if you’ve lost a military medal?” can be found at A list of Purple Heart recipients can be found at

Have you honored your Illinois veteran?

The Illinois State Genealogical Society has a project recognizing the sacrifices made by Illinois veterans. Certificates are available for direct or indirect descendants of veterans of all wars who actively served in an Illinois unit and lived, died, or was buried in Illinois. Complete Military Certificate application information as well as a link to the list of 368 veterans honored to date can be found at

Queries, as well as a general exchange of genealogical material that readers would like to share, will be printed in the column for free. Contact Joan Griffis by e-mailing

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