GenToday-L Archive

What Happened to the 1890 Federal Census?

Many genealogy researchers have become frustrated once they began searching for the 1890 US Federal Census. Soon, the researchers learn the 1890 Schedules was destroyed by a fire in the National Archives in 1921.

January 10, 1921, in the afternoon, the building fireman reported seeing smoke in the basement of the Commerce Building where the schedules were located and the fire department was called. They contained the fire to the basement level but flooded most of the area. These records were allowed to remain soaking in the water overnight and the next day the damage was assessed. The schedules were located in a basement vault that was considered to be fireproof and waterproof. Upon assessment they found a small broken pane of glass which had allowed the water to seep in and damaged some of the schedules that were located in the low shelves. Those schedules were opened and dried and recopied. However, the 1890 schedule was located outside the vault and it was determined that the 1890 records were ruined and that no method of restoration would restore them.

A cause of that 1921 fire was never determined, although there was some speculation that a worker was smoking and that started the blaze or the stacks of paper spontaneously combusted.

In 1932 a list of papers to be destroyed was sent to the Librarian of Congress which included the original 1890 schedules that still remained. Congress authorized the destruction of the papers listed and in 1934 those remaining schedules were destroyed by the Department of Commerce.

However, some of the original schedules still exist. In 1942 a bundle of the 1890 Illinois schedules was discovered during a move. In 1953 more fragments from a few states were discovered. These few 1890 censuses have all been filmed and are available through your local library, state archive, and Family History Centers.

Tip of the Month

When cousins marry cousins - are you shocked? Is it good or bad? I always read that it would "set" the bad genes and cause genetic problems. It seems in the mid 1600's and 1700's this went on quite often in our families. I read an article in The Family Tree that said the following: "Apparently finding our ancestors marrying cousins shouldn't be a source of concern......Inbreeding is not a bad thing. In a population with inbreeding, you are flushing out a higher proportion of deleterious genes than in a population that is not inbreeding." I breath a sigh of relief that my genes are okay and in good shape and I cannot blame anything on my great, great, great grandmother for marrying her first cousin. However, one wonders about the "black sheep" of the family and where their genes came from!!


BALES, Simom Lee born 1894 Switzerland County IN in 1918 married Marie FRICK. Searching for any info about Simon after moving to Indianapolis IN 1919.

Samuel DAWSON was born in Amsterdam, NY in 1817. Looking for any DAWSONS in New York that might be related or have DAWSON in their history.

Researching HAYDIS In Toronto, Canada or Montreal. Origin near Black Sea, Russia. Researching Wrottenberg and Granz originally from Kiev. Emigraded to South Dakota

I have much BOWKER family material on hand which I would like to add to, and share with others. Anyone Interested ?


Want info abt my family.... part come from Hungary, other side from Yemen and Adan, in the south of Saudia Arabia. How can I retrieve material. I am Jewish, so that should sort of limit the search. (Elaine T. Maddox) Searching for family Anna Hruska, b 1856 Bohemia, immigrated 1868, md Chicago, 1879, Michael Slepicka (a/k/a Slepica and Chicken)children: William, Joseph, Fred, Walter, George, Edward, Maude, Elizabeth &Anna; died Minneapolis, MN.

Looking for any descendants of Friedrich DISSMEYER / DIßMEIER and Melosine SCHLÜTER. Friedrich b 25 Dec 1834 in Germany d 3 Sep 1907 Gage Co NE Melosine b 4 Aug 1830 Germany d 1 Feb 1903 Gage Co NE. To US in

Nettie B. WEBB b. pos. Farmersville, Texas married to William Arthur BIRDWELL B. 16Mar1865, Vilonia, Ark need her parents. Please contact me at

Looking for information on the QUAIROLI and MILANESI family from Milano, Italy area and also the FEHLMANN and GOZZER family from Bern, Switzerland area.

Seek data on Mariah FURMAN &Betsey FULMER, daughters of Jacob (1785-1853) & harity W. (1784-1869) POTTER. Probably b. 1805 to 1820 Y, but dates & places unknown. May have lived PA at one time & were alive somewhere in 1860.

Stewart H MOORE 1852 (?) Louisville KY, Married Ema STEARN/STEARS of Springfield, MA.>Marian Ema born 1/16/81 in Chicago. Marian wed Edward Ralph Goble in Chic.>Edward Alden Goble 2/12/1915, is my dad

Looking for the ancestros and descendants of Henry John KUPER (1867 Germany - 1940 St Louis MO) and Frieda SCHMIDT (1873 Germany - 1949 St Louis MO). Their son is William H KUPER (1890 Germany - 1946 St Louis MO).

I am looking for WEBB AARON WOOTEN 1880-1890 in Ga. His mother's maiden name was MAGGIE WEBB. Father's first name unknown. May have a sister named Jane.Can you help? E-mail

Ruben Perry Hicks b. ? Obion Co. Tenn. In Ark. 1872. Returned to Tenn. 1885. Supposedly married ? Lattamer (Latimore) had large family. May have used Initials R.P. HICKS. My GGrandfather, would love to find.

Trying to locate any records on Gustave ROHLOFF/ROHLF in North or South Dakota (1885-1900). I've not been able to find him on any census, but believed he married near Watertown or Hazel, South Dakota around 1888-1895.

Trying to locate any information on Jefferson WOLFORD, Portage County, OH. Birth 1800-1820, land records 1820-1860, census records during this time. Also death record in Minnesota, probably Steele, Rice or LeSueur Counties after 1870.

Desperately seeking parents for JOSEPH A. TAYLOR b. 1827VA?, married abt 1850 MARY POLLY BOURN,Grayson Co., VA. Died abt. 1864 from wounds incurred in the Civil War.

Information on JOHN FOWLER, JR, b. 4 Dec. 1799; m. Mary Millie Glass, ca. 1820; lived ca. 1800, Guilford Co., NC; ca. 1825-55, Morgan Co, IN; ca. 1855-90, Lyon Co. KS. Need link to father, JOHN FOWLER.

Researching the parents of Silas Ada Crumley(Crumbley) b. 6-7-1884 Wilkinson,Co. GA. d. 11-19-1955 w/Lizzie Wommack.

Searching for all spellings for the surname: Gaschet/Gachet/Gassett/Gushee. Please write:

Researching the surname WILLIFORD/ WILIFORD/ WILLAFORD/ WILLEFORD/ WILFORD and WILSFORD. Please contact me at

Needing information on the BOEN family name. Are they really Indian? They are located in Arkansas in the 1800s. please contact me if you know of ANY BOENS... anywhere.

REUBEN E SANDERS b March 17, 1822 Missouri, d 1894 Limestone County, TX. m NANCY UNKNOWN. children: MARY,BRYANT, ELIZABETH, EMILY, LUCY, JAMES EDWIN, CORA… Looking for ancestors. fvlyon@AOL.COM

THOMAS, David John - Born South Wales, UK in 1896 Emigrated to USA approx 1930, returned to UK about 1970, any info.

Looking for JOHANN THIESSEN, b. 1-13-1844 in Kortitza, Russia, m. 12-8-1868 to AGANETHA NICKEL, b. 3-7-1849 in Kortitza, Russia; PETER N. THIESSEN was their son, b. 9-20-1878.

Researching the following lines: In Illinois: BUCK/SUTER/HAYES/HARFORD In Tennessee: BUCK/RICHARDSON; In Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Connecticut: BUCK; In Ohio: CURRY/HARFORD



I am looking for info on Rousseau family, Joseph E. son of Odilon Rousseau. Joseph married Alexina Bonin who passed away in 1925 need more info on her. Also need info on surnames, Charest, Pomerleau, Roberge.

My father had to have a guardian sign his wedding lic. when he got married in Coshocton Ohio. What we would like to know is can anyone help us get the address where we can write in Ohio for any and all information on this matter.

Looking for information on Elijah J. PERRY in Carroll Co., AR and MO. He was b. 1833 in Shelby Co., IN; died 1914 in Eureka Springs, AR. Thank you. Happy to share his descendency info.

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