Colorado and Indian Census Records at the Colorado State ArchivesThe Colorado State Archives has microfilmed copies of the Federal general population schedules for Colorado from 1850 - 1880 and 1900 - 1920, the special 1885 Colorado State Census and the special Indian Census (1885-1944). The censuses were far more than a simple enumeration of an area's population. They are an excellent resource for genealogists, historians, and sociologists as they document vital statistics as well as the history of social change. The specific questions asked by census takers varied from decade to decade and as such each enumeration provides different information. These specifics are outlined below.
Besides the basic federal population schedules are statistical schedules concerning agriculture, recapitulation, manufacturing, and other socio-economic categories. There is also what is referred to as the "mortality" schedules. These records provide the name, age, sex, month of death, place of birth, cause of death, and occupation for those who died within that census year. An on-line source for county mortality schedules and several cemetery indexes is the Colorado Gen-Web site http://www.us-census.org/states/colorado/.
Another group of Federal Census records are the Native American / Indian Census Rolls from 1885 - 1944. The tribes represented in the records found at the Colorado State Archives are the Cheyenne, Arapahoe, Sioux, Crow, Ute, Kiowa, Comanche, Apache, Caddo, Wichita, Navajo, Hopi, Nez Pierce, Shoshoni, Shebits, Kaibab, Utah, Ouray, and Paiute. Since most Indians were not recognized as citizens until 1924 and not represented in Congress, the United States Government did a special census enumerating the Native Americans who lived on reservations. These census rolls were submitted annually by the reservations' agent/superintendent as required by an act of July 4, 1884. Before 1930 the census provides information on the person's name, date of birth, gender, and relationship to the head of the family. After 1930 the census provided information on the individual's degree of Indian blood, marital status, ward status, place of residence, and also included miscellaneous commentary. Two major problems related to the Indian census are that they only recorded those who possessed a formal affiliation with a tribe, and that it did not consistently cover every tribe annually. Some sites that might assist in a better understanding of the Indian census and genealogy are: http://members.aol.com/bbbenge/page12.html (Guide for Native American Genealogy); http://www.archives.gov/research_room/genealogy/census/native_americans_1885_to_1940.html (National Archives Records Administration site) & http://www.system.missouri.edu/shs/nativeam.html (a "how to" guide for doing Native American genealogy).
The Colorado State Archives now has an index of the Fort Lewis and Grand Junction Indian Industrial Schools from 1900. These enumerations were slightly different from the usual 1900 Census entries or the Federal Indian Census as there was a special section, "Special Inquiries Relating to Indians." The main section included the headings found on the 1900 Federal Census. In addition, however, this special section listed the tribe of the Indian as well as the tribe of his/her father and mother. There is also a heading entitled "Mixed Blood" which asked if the Indian had any white blood and how much. In the Grand Junction index several additional headings are usually filled out including, "Conjugal Condition," "Citizenship" and "Dwelling" ("Is this Indian living in a fixed or in a movable dwelling?").
The following lists the information generally found in each of the Federal general population censuses as well as the 1885 Colorado Census.
http://www.genealogy.org/ (Genealogy On-Line); http://www.nara.gov/genealogy/soundex/soundex.html (Automatic Soundex Decoder); and http://www.cyndislist.com/census.htm (Census Resources).
Soundex Coding GuideKeep the first letter of the surname and then disregard all vowels, W, Y, and H
1 = B, P, F, V
1885 Colorado CensusThe 1885 Colorado Census was a special state census done in conjunction with the federal government. As such it is different from the other federal censuses. For instance, the Soundex system does not apply to this census. Also, there is a completely separate alphabetical extraction of names which includes age, race, gender, nativity, and marital status. The alphabetical extraction is organized by county and thereunder alphabetically by first letter of last name. Of the 40 counties that were organized at the time, an alphabetical extraction was done for 20. The extractions do not refer to a sheet and a page number in the census which sometimes makes it difficult for researchers to cross reference a name. If a researcher is looking to see if a person lived in a certain county in 1885 or needs only basic information about an individual, then the 1885 alphabetical extraction is useful and can be quicker to search than the actual census. The 1885 census usually includes the following information:
1890 CensusA fire in the Federal Commerce Department Building on January 21, 1921 destroyed these records. While many of the census schedules were not fully consumed by the blaze, enough were damaged that Congress felt it necessary to authorize their disposal.
1910 CensusNote: the Colorado State Archives does not have the 1910 Soundex
Last modified April 24, 2001