©2022 Donald R. Snow -- This page last updated 2022-01-10

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ABSTRACT:  HeritageQuest Online (HQO) is a website that is free through libraries by using your public library card barcode.  It has many family history resources and you can use it at home for free.  This class is Part 3 of a series and deals with the census records on HQO which includes all the U.S. federal and Canadian censuses.  Some of the U.S. files here are from different filmings than on other websites and may be more legible here.  It also has different indexes and ways to search than other websites, so it is worth checking. Previous classes in this series have discussed the books and texts, U.S. Revolutionary Ward Records, and many other state and local records on HQO.  Future classes will discuss newspapers, obituaries, and other items on it. The notes for this class, with active links and related articles, are posted on my website  http://uvtagg.org/classes/dons/dons-classes.html .


  1. Instructor is Donald R. Snow ( snowd@math.byu.edu ) of Provo and St. George, Utah.
  2. The notes for this class with active URLs, as well as additional information in other notes and articles, are posted at http://uvtagg.org/classes/dons/dons-classes.html .
  3. Tips:  (1)  To put an icon on your desktop for these notes, or any webpage, just drag the icon from in front of the address in your browser onto your desktop.  (2)  To open a link, but keep your place in these notes, hold down the Control key while clicking the link.
  4. The problem for today:  What census records are on HeritageQuest Online and how do you use them?

  6. HeritageQuest Online is a website that libraries can subscribe to for their patrons to use at home through their public library card bar codes. 
  7. The notes for Part 1 of this series (online on my website where these notes are stored) give links and articles about HQO; the Utah state-wide public library website for HQO is https://onlinelibrary.utah.gov/heritagequest-online/  and any Utah public library card barcode will get you in. This site will keep your library barcode so you don't have to enter it each time.


  8. The Home page has two Census Search buttons, Search US Census and Search Canada Census.
  9. On the HQO Home page click on Census Map Guide to get to an interactive map of the U.S. that shows how the counties changed in each state over the years.
  10. The US Censuses are from 1790-1940 and have several indexes. 
  11. The U.S. makes its censuses public after 72 years, so the 1940 U.S. Census is available now and the 1950 U.S. Census will be released later this year (2022).
  12. On the U.S. Census search page are several helpful search tips and alist of all the censuses and indexes they have; these include some mortality schedules (deaths the year before the census), some Slave Censuses, Indian Censuses, and several other "non-standard" items.
  13. In the search boxes fill in minimal information, e.g. just a surname, to start, and add more search terms, locations, and dates, and move the sliders, to get more or fewer hits; you can edit any search term by clicking on the "pencil" icon.
  14. When you find something you want, click the button at the top right to print it to hard copy or to pdf; or you can email it to yourself.
  15. One advantage of the searches here is that you can see all the census your ancestor is in by narrowing down first, then click to download each one. 
  16. In class we will show examples of searches and results.
  17. Sections of Dollarhide's "The Census Book" can be downloaded as pdfs -- On the Home page click on Research Aids; in the Search Census box are links to 4 sections of it and in the Getting Started box is the Census Forms section; you used to be able to download the entire book, including the publication information, from HQO.

  19. The Canadian Censuses are from 1861-1921.
  20. The UK, and hence Canada, make their censuses public after 100 years, so the 1921 Canada census is the latest available now (2022).
  21. The Canada census collection include some earlier than 1861 and others that are not censuses of all of Canada; for example, the 1825 Census of Lower Canada (Quebec) and even Poll Tax records from the 1700s.
  22. When you find something you want, there is a Printer Friendly button that changes it to be better formatted for printing; you can also do screenshots with a scrolling screen program (I use FastStone Capture.)
  23. In class we will show examples of some of my ancestors that we only recently discovered in Canada.

  25. HQO is free with your public library card barcode and has many databases including many U.S. and Canadian censuses.
  26. The search engine may be different than on other websites, so you may be able to find information here that you couldn't find on other census websites.
  27. The "filmings" may be different of censuses on different websites, so it's worth checking others.
  28. Other classes will discuss newspapers, obituaries, and other items on HQO.
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