How to Search Census Records Online

You can search through census records manually, but doing so is often slow and inconvenient. Online transcriptions of census records are easier and faster to search through, without the hassle of actually needing to handle large quantities of paper. Unfortunately, census records are often not commonly available on the Internet because transcription is an expensive and time-consuming labor. Although there are many non-profit organizations that can help you access commercial services hosting such transcripts for free, you may need to spend money to subscribe to such a service if you cannot access any of these helpful non-profit organizations.


    • 1

      Check to see if the census records that you are interested in have already been transcribed on a website open to the general public. For example, the USGenWeb Census Project is a non-profit organization working to transcribe US census records and make them available to all people through the Internet.

    • 2

      Check to see if there are any local government offices that offer free access to websites hosting transcribed census records. For example, the US National Archives offers free access to Heritage Quest at their facilities across the United States.

    • 3

      Check to see if your local public library can offer you free access to websites that host transcribed census records. Availability depends on the services offered by your local public library, something that you can find out by either calling or sending an email.

    • 4

      Research commercial websites such as, and Heritage Quest that contain searchable census records. Pick one based on the price that you'll be charged for subscription and the services that they offer.

    • 5

      Familiarize yourself with the service that you are using and then begin searching. Some services might offer you search tools, while others might need you to read through specific census records to find the information that you are looking for.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure you cite the online census database you used as your source.
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