2 Replies Latest reply on Jun 3, 2019 12:16 PM by Kyle Jansson

    Seeking agricultural census records for farms, 1880-1915


      I am looking for agricultural census records for individual farms in North Dakota and Minnesota 1880-1915. What archives are they in? Have any been digitized?

        • Re: Seeking agricultural census records for farms, 1880-1915
          Rebecca Collier Ranger

          Dear Mr. Jansson,


          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


          We suggest that you contact the National Archives at Washington, DC (RDT1) for non-population census that included agriculture information after 1880 via email at archives1reference@nara.gov.


          We hope this is helpful.


          2 people found this helpful
            • Re: Seeking agricultural census records for farms, 1880-1915

              Here is the very  helpful information I received from a National Archives reference specialist following your suggestion. Thank you.


              Unfortunately, the agricultural schedules themselves (as opposed to publications based on that data) from the 1890 Census through the 1940 Census are no longer extant for U.S. States. (Some schedules for overseas territories, such as Puerto Rico, are extant). It is believed that the agricultural schedules from 1890 were destroyed by a fire at the Commerce Department in Washington, DC, in 1921, along with most of the rest of the 1890 Census schedules. Congress authorized the destruction of twentieth-century agricultural schedules (from 1900, 1910, 1920, 1925, 1930, 1935, and 1940, respectively) in various acts passed between 1912 and 1954.


              However, 1880 agricultural schedules for the Dakota Territory and Minnesota might still be extant. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) does not house these schedules; the U.S. Census Bureau distributed the original nineteenth-century nonpopulation censuses to non-Federal repositories in 1918 and 1919, long before NARA was established. In later years, NARA acquired microfilm or published copies of many of these schedules, but the complete 1880 agricultural schedules for the Dakota Territory and for Minnesota do not appear to be among them.


              I suggest that you contact the South Dakota State Historical Society, the State Historical Society of North Dakota, and the Minnesota State Historical Society to inquire about available agricultural schedules for 1880. Contact information for their respective staffs is available on their websites.


                When you contact these repositories, consider inquiring about State census schedules as well. Some States conducted a census in 1885, and in some cases later years as well. While the State censuses might not provide you with individuals' agricultural production, if census enumerators did not ask questions about agriculture, they might provide other information about individuals who lived in those areas that might be helpful to you. The staff at the respective State repositories can likely assist you further.