For immediate release:                          October 11, 2018

Contact:                                                  Nick Omland, Communications Coordinator, (573) 751-4218                                                           

Missouri State Archives, Missouri Historical Society Announce the Discovery of Long Lost Census Records 

Jefferson City, Mo. — Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, in collaboration with the Missouri Historical Society, today announced the discovery of 13 pages from the 1880 U.S. Census Population Schedule. Identified by the staff of the Missouri State Archives, a division of Ashcroft’s office, the pages record the households of the 99th Enumeration District in Perry County, including the name, age, marital status, occupation, level of education and more for 633 individuals then residing in the county’s Union Township. 

“Discoveries like this are extremely rare,” Ashcroft said, “and we are thrilled to now provide access to these records previously unavailable to genealogists, historians and archivists alike.” 

The 1880 U.S. Census was released to the public in the 1950s and researchers have looked for these missing pages ever since. Adding to the significance of the find, a 1921 fire destroyed most of the 1890 census, meaning that before this discovery, there was a 30-year gap where the Perry County households listed on the missing pages were not documented on an available population schedule. 

In 2015, the Missouri State Archives began a collaborative project with the Missouri Historical Society to digitize and make publicly accessible all Missouri’s non-population schedules. Through this project, Archives staff identified the population schedule pages mixed in with those from the state’s 1880 agricultural schedule. It is thought that the U.S. Census Bureau misfiled these population pages before binding them in the 1880s, decades before they were transferred to the Missouri Historical Society. 

“As we continue to develop our digital collections there are always opportunities to become more familiar with the contents of each record. And that sometimes leads to exciting discoveries such as this one,” said Christopher Gordon, director of library and collections for the Missouri Historical Society. “Partnerships, such as our collaboration with the Missouri State Archives, provide opportunities to improve accessibility of public records which benefits both researchers and family genealogists.” 

Visit www.sos.mo.gov/records/archives/census/pages/federal to view the newly identified records. Although the other U.S. Census records imaged through the collaborative project are not yet available online—including mortality, agricultural and manufacturing schedules from 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880—they will be added to this site in the coming year. 

The pages will also eventually be available on the Missouri Historical Society website. For more information about the found census pages or questions about the digitization project, contact the reference staff of the Missouri State Archives at archives@sos.mo.gov or (573) 751-3280. 

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Visit www.sos.mo.gov to learn more about the Office of the Missouri Secretary of State.