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HeritageQuest Online

Learn about the broad range of historical data available from HeritageQuest Online and how to access it.

What is HeritageQuest Online?

HeritageQuest® Online is a comprehensive treasury of American genealogical sources—rich in unique primary sources, local and family histories, and finding aids.

18th Century or 20th Century. European or Native American. Farm or Factory. East Coast or West Coast. Where does your American past begin?

Discover the amazing history of you with HeritageQuest Online. It delivers an essential collection of genealogical and historical sources—with coverage dating back to the 1700s—that can help people find their ancestors and discover a place’s past.

The collection consists of five core data sets:

  • U.S. Federal Censuses feature the original images of every extant federal census in the United States, from 1790 through 1940, slave, veteran, and non-population schedules, and more related content. 
  • Genealogy and local history books provide more than 7 million digitized page images from over 28,000 family histories, local histories, and other books. 
  • Revolutionary War records provides access to the complete NARA Series M804 collection - Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, a collection of an estimated 83,000 application files from officers and enlisted men who served in the Revolutionary War in all branches of the American military: army, navy, and marines.
  • Freedman’s Bank Records, with more than 480,000 names of bank applicants, their dependents, and heirs from 1865–1874, offers valuable data that can provide important clues to tracing African American ancestors and researching the Reconstruction Era.

Links to the following content are also available to the following collections: 

  • U.S. Congressional Serial Set records the memorials, petitions, private relief actions made to the U.S. Congress back to 1789, with a total of more than 480,000 pages of information.

NEW: More U.S. Federal Census Content

Among the many changes to HeritageQuest Online, you will find that all publicly available U.S. Federal Census records (1790-1940) are now fully searchable in HeritageQuest Online!

But wait! There's more!  More content, that is. The U.S. Federal Census Collection now has even more content:

  • 1850 & 1860 U.S. Federal Census Slave Schedules 
  • 1890 Veterans Schedule 
  • Selected U.S. Federal Census Non-Population Schedules, 1850-1880 
  • U.S. Enumeration District Maps and Descriptions, 1940
  • U.S. Federal Census - 1880 Schedules of Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Classes
  • U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1885
  • U.S. Special Census on Deaf Family Marriages and Hearing Relatives, 1888-1895
  • U.S., Indian Census Rolls, 1885-1940

The 72-Year Rule and The 1950 U.S. Federal Census

When the 1940 U.S. Federal Census was released to the public in April 2012, immediately people began asking "When will the 1950 Census be available?" 

To that we must reply: "Great question... The National Archives and Records Administration will release it on April 1, 2022. I know... it seems like a long, long time."

"But why 2022," you ask?  "The 72-Year Rule," we reply. 

So what is this "72-Year Rule" anyway?  Another great question...

“The 72-year Rule” is governed by Public Law 95-416, enacted by Congress in October 1978 and “mandates that…federal census returns are kept confidential until 72 years after the census to which they pertain.”

 To learn more, visit the U.S. Census Bureau website regarding this legislation or click here to download the public law.

Did You Know?

There are approximately 3.9 million individuals noted on the 1860 U.S. Census Slave Schedule. That is about 40% of the population of the southern states at the time. 

You may search the Slave Schedules by Owner Name and/or Location, but browsing can provide broader insight into the areas where your ancestors may have been living. What was the make up of other homes, farms, or plantations surrounding the location where your ancestor was living (i.e., small family homes/farms with only a few slaves and servants vs. large plantations with large numbers of slaves and servants)?

Browse the 1860 Slave Schedule:

  1. Click "Search Now" in the Census collection box on the Home page
  2. Scroll to the "Included data collections"
  3. Select the "1860 U.S. Federal Census - Slave Schedules"
  4. On the right side of the page, choose a state from the drop-down menu
  5. Select from the County list
  6. Select from the available list of Townships

The page will refresh to display the slave schedule for that state, beginning on page one.

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