1790 U.S. Census Records

for Grimshaws as Recorded on Ancestry.com

The website Ancestry.com offers online images of the entry pages of many of the censuses of the U.S., including the 1790 census. The 1790 census has been indexed by “head of household”. A search of the website index for “Grimshaw” and “Grinshaw”  yielded just one entry. The Ancestry.com website address for the census search service is shown below.


Access to the census information on Ancestry.com is available for a monthly or annual fee.


Grimshaw Listed in the 1790 U.S. Census

Images of Grimshaw Entry in the 1790 Census

Description of the 1810 Census

Previous Manual Search of Census Indexes for Grimshaws

Grimshaw Listed in the 1790 U.S. Census

The one Grimshaw entry in the 1790 Census is shown in the following table.









Grimshaw, William








Images of Grimshaw Entry in the 1790 Census

The image of the census entry for William Grimshaw has been obtained from Ancestry.com and posted below. A larger image of the entry is provided first, followed by a more complete portion of the page on which the entry appears (in two images, one above and one below). The six columns in the census present the following information:


Name of Head of Family (under headings with township names)


Free white males of 16 years & upwards, including heads of families


Free white males under 16 years


Free white females, including heads of families





The images below show that William Grimshaw was living in Haverhill Township, Grafton County, NH with one male under 16 years of age and two females, for a total of four individuals.

Description of the 1790 U.S. Census

The following description of the 1790 U.S. census is provided on the Ancestry.com website.


This database details those persons enumerated in the 1790 United States Federal Census. In addition, the names of those listed on the population schedule are linked to the actual images of the 1790 Federal Census, copied from the National Archives and Records Administration microfilm, M637, 12 rolls.

Enumerators of the 1790 census were asked to include the following categories in the census: name of head of household, number of free white males of sixteen years and older, number of free white males under sixteen years, number of free white females, number of all other free persons, number of slaves, and sometimes town or district of residence. The categories allowed Congress to determine persons residing in the United States for collection of taxes and the appropriation of seats in the House of Representatives. This first United States census schedules differs in format from later census material, as each enumerator was expected to make his own copies on whatever paper he could find. Unlike later census schedules an enumerator could arrange the records as he pleased. This database is certain to prove useful for those seeking early American ancestors.

Extended Description:

The United States was the first country to call for a regularly held census. The Constitution required that a census of all “Persons…excluding Indians not taxed” be performed to determine the collection of taxes and the appropriation of seats in the House of Representatives. The first nine censuses from 1790-1870 were organized under the United States Federal Court system. Each district was assigned a U.S. marshal who hired other marshals to administer the census. Governors were responsible for enumeration in territories.

The jurisdiction of the original thirteen states canvassed an area of seventeen present states. Schedules survive for eleven of the thirteen original states: Connecticut, Maine (part of Massachusetts at the time), Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Vermont. (Vermont became the fourteenth state early in 1791 and was included in the census schedules).

Enumerators were only required to make one copy of the census schedules to be held by the clerk of the district court in their respective area. In 1830, Congress passed a law requiring the return of all decennial censuses from 1790-1830. At this point it was discovered that many of the 1790 schedules had been lost or destroyed. Thus, we have about two-thirds of the original census from the time period. The 1790 census suffered district losses of Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, New Jersey, and Virginia. However, some of the schedules for these states have been re-created using tax lists and other records. Virginia was eventually reconstructed from tax lists as well as some counties from North Carolina and Maryland.

Taken from Chapter 5: Research in Census Records, The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy by Loretto Dennis Szucs; edited by Loretto Dennis Szucs and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking (Salt Lake City, UT: Ancestry Incorporated, 1997).

Source Information:

Index created from United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States in the Year 1790. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1908. Corresponding images scanned from National Archives and Records Administration. 1790 United States Federal Census. [database online] Provo, UT: Ancestry.com, 2000. Data imaged from National Archives and Records Administration. 1790 Federal Population Census. M637, 12 rolls. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration.

Previous Manual Search of Census Indexes for Grimshaws

Before the automated search capabilities became available on Ancestry.com, a manual search of printed census indexes was performed, as described on a companion webpage. The results of this search for the 1790 index (and a prior census) are summarized below.

Pre-1790 Data

Virginia, 1782-87


Brunswick Co

Greenshaw, John; +1

1790 Census Indexes



Frederick Co

Gritschall, John

New Hampshire


Grafton Co

Grimshaw, William

South Carolina


Newberry Co

Greenshaw, Chas

In addition to William Grimshaw of New Hampshire, there were potential Grimshaws in Virginia (John), Maryland (John, although this one is highly questionable), and South Carolina (Charles).

Webpage History

Webpage posted August 2004.