Pennsylvania, Septennial Census, 1779-1863

This record collection in Ancestry Library Edition (ALE) contains septennial census returns listing taxable residents in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania did not conduct state censuses, but it did make enumerations of its inhabitants every seven years, both for tax purposes and to determine representation in state government. These counts are called the septennial censuses.

The septennial censuses listed all state residents who were eligible to be taxed (which means children are not listed). Early records generally provide only name, county, and township. Women are also generally not listed, although some widows are listed as “Widow Smith” (or whatever her late husband’s surname was).

In later years the forms collected additional data, which may include age, occupation, and gender, as well as women’s first names. Beginning in 1800, forms began listing the names, ages, and gender of slaves (most free states tolerated slavery for a number of years after statehood). Data on deaf, dumb, and blind residents is also sometimes included on later forms as well.

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