United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls.
About 1930 United States Federal Census
Containing records for approximately 123 million Americans, the 1930 United States Federal Census is the largest census released to date and is the most recent census available for public access. The census gives us a glimpse into the lives of Americans in 1930, and contains information about a household’s family members and occupants including: birthplaces, occupations, immigration, citizenship, and military service. The names of those listed in the census are linked to actual images of the 1930 Census.
The 1930 United States Federal Census is the largest census released to date and is the most recent census available for public access. The census gives us a glimpse into the lives of Americans in 1930, and contains information about a household’s occupants including: birthplaces, occupations, immigration, citizenship, and military service.
The census can be a valuable tool to use when researching your twentieth-century ancestors because it contains records for approximately 123 million Americans. If you had family in the United States during the early twentieth century, you are likely to find at least one relative’s information within these census records. This makes the 1930 census a good place to start research if you are a beginner, or if your family, vital, or religious records are missing.
The 1930 census began on 2 April 1930 for the general population of the United States. (The enumeration in Alaska began on 1 October 1929.) Regardless of when an individual was contacted, all responses were to reflect the status of the individual as of 1 April 1930.
Enumerators (census takers) collected the following information for each household:
Note: Individuals in Alaska, and Indians were asked slightly different questions. For example, Indians were not asked about their mother’s country of origin, but which tribe she belonged to.
The 1930 U.S. Federal Census Records Today
In order to protect the privacy of individual citizens, census records are not released publicly until exactly 72 years from the official census date. 1940 is the most recent census year available and was released on 2 April 2012.
Using the microfilm from the 1930 census, Ancestry.com created images of all the available census records. In addition, Ancestry.com indexed all the names in the census so they are searchable online.
What do the abbreviations in the 1930 census schedules mean?
Those recording census information in the year 1930 were provided sheets by the government on which information was to be recorded. At the bottom of these pages were found a set of instructions, abbreviations to be used, and which entries were required to be recorded. The following is a list of abbreviations that were to be used in their respective columns. (The information provided is transcribed directly from the census schedules.)
Abbreviations were to be used in the columns as shown:
Which columns were enumerators required to complete in the 1930 census schedules?
Entries were required in the following columns:
Where are the original census records, and can I access them?
The original paper schedules have been destroyed; the 1930 census schedules were photographed and their images were placed on microfilm that is maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).
What is an enumeration district?
An enumeration district is the geographical area that was assigned to a single census taker.
How many people were included in the 1930 census?
The general census recorded a population of approximately 123,202,624 individuals.
Why would I want to search the census by page number?
Once you have located a relative, you can use the page number to pull up other names from that same page in the census—your ancestor’s neighbors. Neighbors may provide valuable clues that you can use to further your research. During this time period, it was not uncommon for families to remain in close proximity to each other. You might find parents, siblings, or cousins living next door. In addition, groups of families often immigrated and settled together in America. You may find clues about the country and area that your ancestors came from.
Ancestry.com has an easier way to search for neighbors. When you reach an individual’s census record page, you can click the Family and Friends: View Results link to see the individual’s neighbors.
For more 1930 census search tips, see these articles:
For information on locating and understanding U.S. census records, see Finding Answers in U.S. Census Records, by Loretto Dennis Szucs and Matthew Wright. This book covers the federal population schedules, state and local census schedules, and special census schedules.
To learn more about enumeration districts, the following reference materials might be useful. (These are available at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. and at NARA's regional records services facilities.)
Note: To complement its collection of 1930 resources, The National Archives has also purchased copies of city directories for 1928-1932. For a complete list of which directories it has, see NARA's website. These are not National Archives publications, but can be purchased from Primary Source Microfilm (an imprint of the Gale Group). For ordering information call 1-800-444-0799.
Some information for this entry was taken from 1930 Federal Population Census: Catalog of National Archives Microfilm, National Archives Trust Fund Board (Washington, DC, 2002).
Some information for this article was provided by the U.S. Census Bureau.