Alternatives to the 1890 U.S. Census

The loss of most of the 1890 U.S. census, due to a 1921 fire in the Commerce Building in Washington D.C., presents a challenge to family historians. 
The SAGHS library has many resources to assist researchers in bridging the 20-year gap between the 1880 and 1900 U.S. censuses. Individuals and genealogical societies around the United States have compiled 1890s-era information from alternative sources, such as tax rolls, vital records, and newspapers. Many books that address the problem of missing 1890 census data include “1890” in their titles.
Marriages of Bexar County K and L cover
Here are a few examples from the SAGHS library holdings:
  • 1890 Tax Records Anderson County, Texas and Including the 1890 Marriage Records and the 1890 Census of Union Veterans of the Civil War
  • Reconstructed 1890 United States Census for Atascosa County, Texas
  • Marriages of Bexar County Texas Books K & L Apr. 13, 1890–Feb. 29, 1894
  • Cass County, Texas Records of 1890 includes Tax Roll, Probate Minutes, Marriages, Veterans Census Registered Probate Births, Original Grantees 1848–1940
  • 1890 Census of Pike County Arkansas (reconstructed from tax records)
  • 1890 “Census” of Randolph County, Arkansas as Constructed From the Personal Property Tax List 


In addition, the library has many county histories, from Texas and other states, covering the years between 1880 and 1900, many with biographical information about residents. (accessible from SAGHS library computers) offers additional alternatives to the 1890 census, such as state censuses, Civil War pension applications (Union and Confederate), and city directories. In addition, provides an index and images for the surviving 1890 U.S. census fragment.


Come visit the SAGHS library to find out where your ancestors were in 1890.