Minnesota State Census Guide

Minnesota State Census Guide

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Minnesota State Census Guide, by Mary Bakeman, 2001, 22 pp; ISBN: 0915709783; Item #PGBM411.

Minnesota's territorial and state censuses were detailed in Dollarhide's Minnesota State Censuses & Substitutes

"Wisconsin became a state in May 1848, leaving the area between the St. Croix River and the Mississippi River without any government. The approximately 4,500 residents of the area immediately began petitioning Congress to become a territory, and in March 1849, Minnesota Territory was born. The area of the new territory spanned between the present Wisconsin border and the Missouri River.

- The first MN Territory census was taken in June 1849, with two counties (St. Croix and La Pointe) inherited from Wisconsin Territory. By the end of 1849, the two were replaced with nine original Minnesota Territory counties: East of the Mississippi River: Benton, Ramsay, Washington, and Itasca counties; West of the Mississippi: Pembina, Mahkahta, Wahnahta, Dakotah, and Wabashaw counties. 

- The 1850 federal census taken for MN Territory survives complete for the nine original counties with a total population of about 6,100.  (See the 1850 map of Minnesota on page 10).

- The next territorial censuses were taken in 1853, and again in 1855; but both are very incomplete.

-  Just prior to statehood, the U.S. Federal Government funded a special Minnesota Territory census in 1857.

- By 1860, Minnesota’s population had gone from 4,500 people in nine counties to 172,000 people in sixty counties.  

- The surviving manuscripts for Minnesota’s territorial censuses were microfilmed by the Minnesota Historical Society (MHS)  in St. Paul. The 1857 special federal census was microfilmed by the National Archives.

Territorial Censuses Online: The microfilms of the 1849, 1853, 1855, and 1857 censuses taken during the territorial period of Minnesota have all been digitized and indexed at the MHS website and at the Ancestry.com website.

Minnesota State Censuses. After statehood in 1858, Minnesota took state censuses for 1865, 1875, 1885, 1895, and 1905. All of these can be viewed from microfilm at the Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City. However, none of the Minnesota state censuses on microfilm can be borrowed on interlibrary loan through the FHL – they must be borrowed through the MHS.  State Censuses Online: The MN State Censuses from 1865, 1875, 1885, 1895 and 1905 have all been digitized and indexed at the MHS website, as well as the Ancestry.com website and the FamilySearch.org website.