Source Information

Ancestry.com. Florida, State Census, 1885 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.
Original data: Schedules of the Florida State Census of 1885; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M845, 13 Rolls); Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29; National Archives, Washington D.C.

About Florida, State Census, 1885

This database is an index to, with corresponding images of, the 1885 Florida State Census. Information listed in the index includes:

  • State
  • County
  • Locality
  • Enumeration District
  • Name
  • Relationship to head of household
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Age
  • Birth Date
  • Marital Status
  • Birth Location
  • Father’s Birth Location
  • Mother’s Birth Location
  • Reference (microfilm roll and page number)

The 1885 state census was partially funded by the Federal government. Questions asked were to reflect the individual’s status as of 1 June 1885. While the 1885 census included population, agriculture, manufactures, and mortality schedules, this database contains only the population schedules. Thirty-five of the thirty-nine Florida counties are included here. Only Alachua, Clay, Columbia, and Nassau are excluded because they appear to be missing from NARA’s copies.

Microfilmed copies of this census are held at the National Archives and the LDS Family History Library. The 1890 U.S. Federal Census was damaged and destroyed by fire in 1921. Less than 1% of the schedules are available for research today. Because of this problem, the 1885 Florida State Census has become a highly valuable source, as it provides a wealth of information that would otherwise be found in the Federal Census.

Extended Description:

State censuses were often taken in years between the federal censuses. In some places, local censuses were designed to collect specific data, such as the financial strengths and needs of communities; tallies of school-age children and potential school populations to predict needs for teachers and facilities; censuses of military strength, cavalry horse resources, and grain storage; enumeration for revenue assessment and urban planning; and lists to monitor African Americans moving into the northern cities.

Taken from Szucs, Loretto Dennis, "Research in Census Records." In The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy, ed. Loretto Dennis Szucs and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking (Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1997).