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The 1930 Census

Release: April 1, 2002

Size: The 1930 census consists of 2,667 rolls of population schedules and 1,587 rolls of Soundex indexes for 12 southern states, totaling 4,254 rolls. The other states, however, do not have Soundex indexes.

Information: The 1930 federal census provides a wealth of socio-economic information, such as the following: names of all persons living in each home; relationship of each person to the head of household; whether the home is owned or rented; value of the home; if the family owns a radio; if they own a farm; whether they attended school or college; if they can read or write; place of birth; citizenship status; and occupation.

    First Name Last Name  
Birth, Marriage & Death

Step-by-Step: How Do I Find My Family in the 1930 Census?
Find your ancestors in the 1930 Census.

The best way to get started exploring the 1930 census is with a 14 day free trial to Ancestry.com. That way you'll have access

To Search:

  1. Check the drop-down list under "Filter Your Search By:" and see if your state is listed.
  2. If it is, enter your search criteria and click "Search."

    Hint: Start with just the basics (name and state). Entering too much criteria can sometimes eliminate important search results. If you receive too many results, you can always go back and add more information.

To Search By Location:
When an ancestor can't be found through an index for some reason, it is also possible to search by location. It is helpful to have an address if your ancestor lives in a large city, but if they are in a small town, often, just knowing the town or township can often narrow it down enough to facilitate a manual search. Addresses and location information can be found in a number of places. Here are some ideas:

Ask older family members.

Check vital and other records. (e.g., birth certificates for individuals born around 1930; passports, directories, probates, etc.)

Check personal belongings, such as inside the covers of books.

Review correspondence, postcards, return addresses, etc.

See labeled photographs, which may include addresses, or may have captured house numbers in the photograph itself.

Study scrapbooks and diaries.

Once an address or general location has been determined:

  1. Scroll down past the search box and select the state your ancestor lived in.
  2. Select the county your ancestor lived in. (HINT: If you're not sure of the county, but know the name of the city, try RootsWeb's Town/County finder.)
  3. Select the city, town, or township your ancestor lived in.
  4. Browse through the list of Enumeration Districts for the area your ancestors lived in.

    a. If you are searching in a large city, you may need to consult a map to locate streets around the one where your ancestor lived. (Hint: Free online services like MapQuest—www.mapquest.com—can be extremely helpful in this aspect, although it is important to bear in mind that some street names may have changed over the years.)

    b. Once you have locate the address, search the Enumeration District descriptions that accompany the list of districts for each city for surrounding streets and plot them on the map until you locate the district that your ancestor's address falls in.

  5. Begin browsing through the images for that district searching for your ancestors, with an eye to addresses. By looking at the addresses on the census (found in columns 1 and 2), and charting them in relation to your ancestor's address, you may be able to bounce around and zero in on them without having to browse through all the images.

  6. Commence "happy dancing" upon location of your ancestor!

Other Helpful Tools
For more information on searching geographically, see the National Archives' 1930 Census search information at:

Obtaining EDs for the 1930 Census in One Step (Large Cities)

The History of The 1930 Census

The 1930 Census was begun on 2 April 1930, with the exception of Alaska, where the official start date was 1 October 1929. The following questions were asked by enumerators for all states and territories excepting Alaska: Name of street, avenue road, etc.; house number; number of dwellings in order of visitation; number of family in order of visitation; name of each person whose place of abode was with the family; relationship of person enumerated to the head of the family; whether home owned or rented; value of home if owned; if rented, monthly rental; whether family owned a radio set; whether family owned a farm; sex; color or race; age at last birthday; whether single, married, widowed, or divorced; age at first marriage; whether attended school or college any time since 1 September 1929; whether able to read or write; person's place of birth; father's place of birth; mother's place of birth; language spoken in home before immigration; year of immigration to United States; whether naturalized or alien; whether able to speak English; trade, profession, or particular kind of work done; industry, business, or establishment in which at work; whether employer, salary or wage worker, or working on own account; whether actually at work the previous work day; if not, line number on unemployment schedule (which no longer exist); whether veteran of U.S. military or naval forces, if yes, which war or expedition; number on farm schedule.

The date of the enumeration appears on the heading of each page of the census schedule. All responses were to reflect the individual's status as of 1 April 1930 (or 1 October 1929 for Alaska), even if the status had changed between the official start date and the day of enumeration. Children born between the official start date and the day of enumeration were not to be listed, while individuals alive on the official start date but deceased when the enumerator arrived were to be counted.

Due to boundary modifications in Europe resulting from World War I, some individuals were uncertain about how to identify their national origin. Enumerators were instructed to spell out the name of the city, state, province, or region of respondents who declared that they or their parents had been born in Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, Russia, or Turkey. Interpretation of the birthplace varied from one enumerator to another. For the 1930, distinction was made between the Irish Free State and Northern Ireland, and also between Canada-French and Canada-English.

There are no separate Indian population schedules in the 1930 census. Inhabitants of reservations were enumerated in the general population schedules but some minor differences in reporting were used: in place of country of birth for the father, the degree of Indian blood was listed and for the country of birth for the mother the tribe was listed.

Enumerators were instructed not to report servicemen in the family enumerations but to treat them as residents of their duty posts. The 1930 census includes schedules for overseas military and naval forces.

Enumeration district numbering was altered for 52 of the 56 states and territories enumerated. Within each state, each county was assigned a number based on the alphabetical order of the county. That number would then be followed by the specific enumeration numbers for that county: i.e., 1-1, 1-23, 5-2, 10-73. American Samoa, the Canal Zone, Guam, and the Virgin Islands did not use this system.

The microfilm images may have defects that affect legibility. The original schedules have been destroyed.

Taken from 1930 Federal Population Census: Catalog of National Archives Microfilm, National Archives Trust Fund Board (Washington, DC, 2002)

Search Related Databases:
Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Steamship Arrivals, 1890-1930
Audrain County, Missouri Obituaries, 1930-42
U.S. World War I Mothers' Pilgrimage, 1930
Rhode Island Births, 1636-1930
Rhode Island Marriages, 1636-1930
Rhode Island Deaths, 1630-1930
Fulton County, Pennsylvania, 1805-1930: St. Paul's Church
Railway Gazette Worldwide Historical Data, 1860-1930

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