Sunday, October 24, 2010
Ancestry.com has announced the availability of the 1852 California State Census for its U.S. Deluxe and World Deluxe Members. It is also available in the Ancestry Library edition at about 2,000 locations. If you have ancestors who came to California in the Gold Rush or were already there, this may give you a chance to document their presence. Although the 1849 California constitution directed a census to be taken in 1852, in 1855, and every 10 years after that, the 1852 census was the only one that was completed.
Ancestry's announcement explains the importance and limitations of this enumeration:
"The gold rush would bring about 300,000 people to California between 1848 and 1854. The 1850 U.S. Federal Census tallied California’s population at 92,597. The 1852 California state census count came in at 260,949 (neither census would include the entire Native American population). Not only did the 1852 census provide a record of an additional 150,000 people, but records from three counties from the 1850 census - Contra Costa, San Francisco, and Santa Clara - have since been lost or destroyed. In addition, the accuracy of the 1850 census was called into some question because of the rapid growth and mobility of the population at the time as miners poured into the state. Three counties are missing from the 1852 census records: Colusa, Sutter, and Marin. Also, the images for Butte County are included, but due to the condition of the images no names were able to be captured from them.
For the most part state censuses were taken in years ending in "5" so they would fall halfway in between the federal censuses. Sometimes they asked for information that the national enumerations never asked. A couple of examples sometimes included were how long have you lived in this community and in this state. Ancestry also has one or more state census for the following states: