Southern California Genealogical Society

A Reconstruction of the Lost 1890 U.S. Census for Los Angeles County

In 1890, the state of California was only 40 years old, but El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciúncula had already passed its first century mark as a magnet for immigrants from every corner of the United States and around the globe. From the Spanish padres to the Gold Rush, Hollywood, World War II and today, Southern California has been a populations crossroads. L.A. County's history touches millions.

A large chunk of L.A.'s history is missing. In 1921, the 1890 Federal Census for most of the U. S. was burned -- and a decade later, the remnants were destroyed completely. This is a critical loss for genealogists and historians everywhere, and particularly for those who research Los Angeles County's past, as the area was growing at a furious clip in the years between 1880 and 1900. The 1890 Project will help bridge that gap by bringing together, in one searchable database, dozens of different types of sources and thousands of individual records.

The goal of the 1890 Project is to account for all of the individuals -- fathers, mothers, children, lodgers, residents and visitors -- who would have been enumerated on the 1890 census. This project is a legacy for all future genealogists and historians of the Los Angeles area.

The cornerstone source for the 1890 project is an every-local-name index of the Los Angeles Times from January 1, 1890, through December 31, 1890. The Los Angeles Times index promises to be one of the richest, most comprehensive sources extracted for genealogical purposes. This file alone will likely produce over a hundred thousand records. During this time frame, the newspaper was filled with reports of social, court, political, personal, real estate transfer, birth, marriage, death, fraternal and church functions. All of these, as well as classified advertisements and selected display ads, will be included in the index. The index will list visitors to the county, as well as Los Angeles residents.

Other information sources will include:

Vital records, including births, deaths, marriages.
Church records, including baptisms, communicants, marriages, burials, and officials.
Education records, including teacher and pupil inventories.
City directories for Los Angeles and surrounding communities.
Immigration and naturalization records.
Cemetery listings from Los Angeles County cemeteries.
Occupation information.
Military rosters, including Civil War veterans and members of the Grand Army of the Republic.
Property and tax records.

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