General Information


In 1908, the Census Office in Washington, D.C., undertook a project to extract and index the 1790 census name lists, a publication now commonly known as the 1790 Heads of Families. It includes the name lists for twelve of the sixteen federal court districts that were originally enumerated in the 1790 census. Vermont entered the Union as the 14th state in early 1791, its census taken as of 1st April 1791. Also, in 1790, Maine was still part of Massachusetts but had its own census because it was a separate federal court district. The same was true of Kentucky, which was still part of Virginia but was a separate federal court district. The Census Office’s 1790 volumes, therefore, are limited to the federal court districts of Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, and Virginia.




The 1790 census format included the name of a head of household, the number of free white males under 16, and 16 or older, the number of free white females of any age, the name of a slave owner, and number of slaves owned by that person.


Census losses:


1790 district-wide census losses include those for Kentucky, Delaware, Georgia, New Jersey, and Virginia. Since Virginia had extant tax lists covering all of its counties for the years immediately preceding 1790, the Census Office used these tax lists to reconstruct the 1790 name lists for the entire state of Virginia. A few 1790 counties of other states were also reconstructed from tax lists, including certain counties in North Carolina and Maryland.




The National Archives and Records Administration microfilm for the 1790 census is contained on 12 rolls of 35mm film, series M637. In addition, the 1908 printed volumes of the 1790 census were filmed on three rolls of 35mm film as series T498.


Gooderson Entries


No records of Goodersons have been found in the official index to the 1790 census and it is now thought to be unlikely that any such records ever existed.


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