New York began taking formal state censuses in 1825 both to determine representation in state government and to produce statistics the government might find useful. The state took a census every ten years from 1825 through 1875, another in 1892, and then every ten years again from 1905 to 1925. State censuses like these are useful because they fall in between federal census years and provide an interim look at a population.
What You Can Find in the Records
The 1875 census of New York records the following details:
- state, county, and town, township, or city (and ward and district in cities)
- material of which dwelling is built and value
- age, sex and color (white, black or mulatto)
- relation to head of family (something not found on federal censuses until 1880)
- county, state, or country of birth
- marital status
- occupation and usual place of employment
- former home if in U.S. Service or absent as specified in Article II §3 in the (New York State) Constitution**
- whether native, naturalized voter, or alien
- whether owner of land
- literacy of those over 21
- whether deaf, dumb, or blind
**This provision of the New York State Constitution states, "For the purpose of voting, no person shall be deemed to have gained or lost a residence, by reason of his or her presence or absence, while employed in the service of the United States; nor while engaged in the navigation of the waters of this state, or of the United States, or of the high seas; nor while a student of any seminary of learning; nor while kept at any almshouse, or other asylum, or institution wholly or partly supported at public expense or by charity; nor while confined in any public prison."
Records are available for all counties that existed at the time except the following: Chemung, Clinton, Hamilton, New York [Manhattan], Putnam, Queens, St. Lawrence, Seneca, Suffolk, Wayne, and Westchester.