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Most researchers know the 1890 census is missing because it is such an inconvenience. Some even know why it is missing, however, there are a great many new researchers who have no idea what happened to 1890 Census.

There has been a great amount written about the cause of the destruction of the 1890 Census so I will not repeat or copy their work but will point to a few links where anyone interested can learn of the fire and how a few of the original census schedules survived.

What Happened to the 1890 Federal Census? - GenToday-L (April 1998)

Genealogist's Greatest Loss: What Happened to the 1890 Federal Census

1890 Census Substitutes

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The official National Archives site emphasizes those schedules that survived, including the 118 microfilms of Union Veterans' Schedules. Link=



Besides the online substitutes based on city directories and such, don't forget all of the 1885 state census enumerations, the 1890 NY Police Census, etc. Never give up!
Yes Unknown Ancestor..and if you'll notice, most of whatever records one can find, are northern records. Doesn't do us Southerners much good unles we have northern connections in the 1890-1900 time period.

I don't see a link in your comment but it appears you were trying to leave one.
I know part of Perry County Alabama survived and maybe a couple of other counties. But I have seen the 1890 Perry County census at the Alabama Department of Archives and History. It might be best to contact your local archives to see if there may be some surviving counties for your state.
Thanks Jenn!
The vast majority, about 99% of the 1890 census, burned up in about 1922 when the Commerce Department building caught fire. The census was stored in the basement. What did not burn was ruined by water. A FEW records survived. Most were from the south, but again, only a very few survived.
Excerpted from http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/1996/spring/1890-cens...

...the Eleventh Census of the United States, taken in June 1890. United States residents completed millions of detailed questionnaires, yet only a fragment of the general population schedules and an incomplete set of special schedules enumerating Union veterans and widows are available today. Reference sources routinely dismiss the 1890 census records as "destroyed by fire" in 1921. Examination of the records of the Bureau of Census and other federal agencies, however, reveals a far more complex tale. This is a genuine tragedy of records--played out before Congress fully established a National Archives--and eternally anguishing to researchers. ...

...The censuses of 1790 through 1880 required all or part of schedules to be filed in county clerks' offices. Ironically, this was not required in 1890, and the original (and presumably only) copies of the schedules were forwarded to Washington.(2) ..

...Despite repeated ongoing requests by the secretary of commerce and others for an archives building where all census schedules could be safely stored, by January 10, 1921, the schedules could be found piled in an orderly manner on closely placed pine shelves in an unlocked file room in the basement of the Commerce Building.

...In 1942 the National Archives accessioned a damaged bundle of surviving Illinois schedules as part of a shipment of records found during a Census Bureau move. At the time, they were believed to be the only surviving fragments.(26) In 1953, however, the Archives accessioned an additional set of fragments. These sets of extant fragments are from Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas, and the District of Columbia and have been microfilmed as National Archives Microfilm Publication M407 (3 rolls). A corresponding index is available as National Archives Microfilm Publication M496 (2 rolls). Both microfilm series can be viewed at the National Archives, the regional archives, and several other repositories. Before disregarding this census, researchers should always verify that the schedules they seek did not survive. There are no fewer than 6,160 names indexed on the surviving 1890 population schedules....
I accidentally discovered that some of the Jasper Co MO 1890 census still exists. Of course, I needed the county south of there! Pj
How did you accidently discover this!! Sounds interesting!
I know what happened to the 1890`s & some 1900`s .I have been in contact with a few genweb researchers,They said it is because Washington D.C. had a fire so any central counties and states,Mo to M.D were involved for census for those yrs.
Which is very upsetting for me because those are the yrs between 1880-1900 that my ancestors on both sidesof my parents have moved and or born or died,etc.in IL. from Sagamon co(Springfield.IL) down among the counties also that connect to Ind.and Ky as far west as Mo.
I have many relatives from the Indiana and Kentucky area during that period and it makes it very difficult to trace them during that time.
How traggic! Was the 1890 Census the only think lost in the fire
The lost census is one of the major hurdles I've had to deal with. I can't speak for all African American genealogist but when researching fractured families just coming out of slavery and who are still trying to find their way, it's especially frustrating not having the 1890 census. Some of the most most critical happenings (ancestors dieing, moving, etc.) occurred between 1880 and 1900. Although, I've been able to overcome it on most of my lines, on a couple of my lines, I believe not having the 1890 census has greatly hindered me. I keep reminding myself that every genealogist has to deal with it which keeps me from using this obtacle as an excuse

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