What We Learn from Census Records

Census records provide some of the most useful insights into where our ancestors lived, what they did, and who their neighbors were. To demonstrate, we are including census sheets for our Boulden ancestors. First, a few words of explanation:

Years: The US Census is taken every ten years, beginning in 1790. The government just completed its most recent census last year, in 2010. But it is national policy not to release census data until most folks named in it have passed away. The most recent census to be released was the one for 1930, and it was made available about 75 years after it was polled. We should be able to view the 1940 census in another five or six years. Our known Boulden ancestors appear for the first time in 1820, after William Louis Boulden and his family moved to their farm in Ohio.

Names: It's impossible to find him in the three earlier censuses, because those listed only the Head of Household, with numerical totals added for other members of the household in each age group. So William Louis was almost certainly counted, but since we do not know the name of his head of household, we can't single him out. After 1850, when the census started naming each person counted, they became much more useful to us in pinpointing the locations of ancestors.

Dates: William Louis Boulden is enumerated in 1820 and 1830. He died at the very early age of 38 shortly after the census in 1830.
William Henry Boulden is listed in 1840 and 1850. He died before the 1860 census.
Joseph Louis Boulden is listed in 1870, 1880,1900, and 1910.
William Barton Boulden is listed in 1910 (living near his parents), 1920, and 1930.

Neighbors: As the census taker walked or rode through the area, he went house to house. So an entry on the same page bespeaks a neighbor who lived nearby. In the very early ones, for example, two nearby neighbor families were the Brandons. So it should be no big surprise that one of WL's daughters married Levi Brandon years later. And in 1900, when JL and Mattie were living in Idaho. A nearby neighbor was Erastus Curtis and his wife. They were Mattie's parents. Nearby lived another Curtis family, presumably Mattie's brother's family. Note that that family included a little boy named Erastus, in honor of his distinguished grandfather.

We won't try to include all of the census worksheets available for family members, but we did want to show how they can be helpful tools for learning more about Ancestor families.

Larry Boulden, 2011

1910 Utah Census
1910 Census


  • 1820 William Louis Boulden in Ohio
  • 1830 William Louis Boulden (Year of Death)
  • 1840 William Henry Boulden in Ohio
  • 1850 William Henry Boulden in Ohio
  • 1860 Elizabeth Daniels Boulden in Ohio (after WHB's death in 1857)
  • 1870 Joseph Louis Boulden in Utah
  • 1880 Joseph Louis Boulden in Utah
  • 1890 Joseph Louis Boulden in Utah
  • 1900 Joseph Louis Boulden
    possibly William Barton Boulden
  • 1910 William Barton Boulden in Utah
  • 1920 William Barton Boulden in Utah
  • 1930 William Wilford Richards in Utah