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Accessing 1930-1990 Censuses

Originally posted in ROOTS-L by Adrian Hopkins on Tue, 10 Mar 1998.

Genealogist should take advantage of a special service provided by the Bureau of the Census through their AGE SEARCH office.

Any person can request a personal research of census records, including the 1930 through 1990 censuses currently closed to the public. The basic search fee is $25, and Age Search branch will search any two (2) censuses for a person appearing in the schedules.

For example, you can request a search for the 1930 and 1940 Censuses for your father or mother, or search the 1970 census for yourself. The person who is the subject of the search must be yourself. or a direct ancestor, such as a father, mother, grandmother, etc. You must provide proof of death for an ancestor, and a copy of a death certificate may be necessary. The search is limited to the person for whom you are requesting information, but you can ask for other members of the family to be included for $2.00 for each extra person. You can also request the full line of information from the census schedules for $6.00 additional. if successful in locating the person, the Census Bureau will return to you an official document giving the person's name, age (at time of census), place of birth, citizenship, and the name and relationship of the Head of Household, if applicable.

The document is certified by the Census Bureau as accurate, and this certificate can be used to obtain passports, social security cards, etc., for persons without a recorded birth certificate.

One person per application please for each $25 fee.

If you wish to submit a request for a collateral relative, declare your relationship to the person and provide evidence of the death of that person as part of the application form. The chances are good that by stating your purpose as "genealogical research" and providing evidence of death for a person, just about any deceased person's census record can be received through this service.

This special service must be requested on the Census Bureau's form, one of the better government forms around (because you can read it and understand it & follow the steps). Since the primary use of this service is for persons applying for Social Security and need evidence of their age, any Social Security office is your best source for getting your hands on an application form--request form BC-600, entitled Application for Search of Census Records. There is a place on the form to indicate the purpose of the census search. Family researchers should indicate "genealogical research" as the purpose.

You can request a form be mailed to you by writing:

Bureau of the Census
"Age Search"
PO box 1545
Jeffersonville, IN 47131


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