A book consisting of 1875 census returns, was published by the Executive Council, and shows "in detail the population, agricultural statistics, domestic and general manufactures, and other items of interest. " This is known as the Thirteenth state census taken under state authority, but is also "the twenty-first enumeration of the inhabitants of what is now the State of Iowa".

The 1875 Census is the 21st for Iowa?

Did you realize the existence of the great number of censuses conducted in Iowa up to this year? The 1875 census book publication is among many that contain statistics based upon collected census data. The 20 censuses up to 1875 since the organization of the territory are: 1836, 1838, 1840, 1844, 1846, 1847, 1849, 1850, 1851, 1852, 1854, 1856, 1859, 1860, 1863, 1865, 1867, 1869, 1870, and 1873.

A Genealogical Potential

Individual names were not included in these statistical books. But, agricultural and population totals are usually tallied using data gathered from in-person visitations, so wouldn't there be an opportunity to write down names? For many census years, individual household information or head-of-household (HOH) names were not included in the end product. For genealogical purposes, we only list censuses that include name enumerations.

Surprisingly, the 1875 book and other census books do not list the full compliment of questions contained in the census schedule and asked by the enumerator, though great pains are taken to present the results.

A Surprising Find

Thankfully, through a researcher's discovery, we have a glimpse of what the enumerator was supposed to have written down. The HOH name along with other household population totals and family statistics were among the data to be collected by the enumerator! One county—that we know of, so far—retained the data from the census questionnaire.

Carroll County has the distinct credit to have retained the original census schedule. Denise Gripp, the 1st Vice President of the Iowa State Genealogical Society, happened upon this surprising census in her research. Thanks to her, we have a glimpse of a sample first page of this census. Also see the first 150 questions of this 189 question census schedule.

I have now included the 1875 Census for Carroll County in our list of censuses to be transcribed.


Where are the original census enumerations for the other counties? Perhaps a clue is given in the introductory remarks of the 1875 census book. The county auditors compiled the county's statistics and sent them off to the Secretary of State. Seemingly, there was no requirement for the county government to keep the detailed schedules, so we can speculate that they were destroyed. The county assessors may have had further reason to destroy the original collected data. This data collection was only to be used for census purposes and assessors were not allowed to use it for tax assessment. In order to insure no enticement to this purpose was possible, the office probably destroyed the original copies in most cases

We can mourn the fact that the majority of these great genealogical treasures were destroyed. However we can still hold out hope and ask what treasures will we find buried in the basements of the local county courthouse or in the files of the local genealogical or historical society?

- Stephen Williams       (May 2008)


Supplemental Material

About the 1875 Statistics Book

Title: Thirteenth State Census, The Census of Iowa, as returned in the Year 1875, Showing in Detail the Population, Agricultural Statistics, Domestic and General Manufactures, and Other Items of Interest.

Published: Under the Direction of the Executive Council. Cyrus C. Carpenter, Governor. Josiah T. Young, Secretary of State. Buren R. Shierman, Auditor of State. William Christy, Treasurer of State. Des Moines: R. P. Clarkson, State Printer. Nov. 1, 1875.

Pages: Introductory matter: xvi pages, General Tables: 507 pages

1. Making of America Digital Library has a free online digital copy. This link includes other Iowa State census years as well.
2. Libraries throughout the U.S.


1875 Carroll Co. Census Schedule image and questionnaire transcription: Denise Gripp, 1st Vice President of the Iowa State Genealogical Society.

Repositories: Originals at Carroll County Courthouse, FHL microfilm #'s 1480855 Item 2 & 1480856 Item 1

Pages published: Stephen D. Williams, 16 May 2008


Sample 1875 census page
1875 Census, Carroll Co, page 1

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Census Schedule Questionnaire (the 1st 150 questions)

P. 1
1.      Dwelling- houses numbered in order of visitation
2.      Name of head of family
3.      Residence- If in town or city, name of street, with number or other description
4.      Residence- If in country- Township
5.      Residence- If in country- Range
6.      Residence- If in country- Section
7.      Residence- If in country- Description by smallest legal subdivision
8.      Families numbered in order of visitation
9.      White inhabitants- Male
10.     White inhabitants- Female
11.     White inhabitants- Total
12.     Colored inhabitants- Male
13.     Colored inhabitants- Female
14.     Colored inhabitants- Total

P. 2
15.     Total population
16.     Nativity of inhabitants- No. born in Iowa
17.     Nativity of inhabitants- No. born in the U.S. but not in Iowa
18.     Nativity of inhabitants- No. born in foreign countries
19.     Foreign parentage- No. having both parents foreign born
20.     Foreign parentage- No. whose father only was foreign born
21.     Foreign parentage- No. whose mother only was foreign born
22.     No. of voters
23.     Birthplace of voters- No. born in United States
24.     Birthplace of voters- Do. in British America
25.     Birthplace of voters- Do. England & Wales
26.     Birthplace of voters- Do. in Ireland
27.     Birthplace of voters- Do. in Scotland
28.     Birthplace of voters- Do. in Germany
29.     Birthplace of voters- Do. in Austria, inc. Hungary and bohemia
30.     Birthplace of voters- Do. in Holland
31.     Birthplace of voters- Do. in Norway
32.     Birthplace of voters- Do. in Sweden
33.     Birthplace of voters- Do. in Denmark
34.     Birthplace of voters- Do. in France
35.     Birthplace of voters- Do. in all other countries
36.     No. Foreigners not naturalized
37.     No. of militia
38.     No. 5 years old and under 6
39.     No. 6 years old and under 16
40.     No. 16 years old and under 21
41.     Illiteracy- No. over 16 and under 21 who cannot read
42.     Illiteracy- No. over 21 who cannot read-male
43.     Illiteracy- Do. female
44.     No. deaf an dumb not in state institution
45.     No. blind not in College for the Blind
46.     No. insane not in state hospitals
47.     No. births in 1874
48.     No. deaths in 1874

P. 3
49.     No. acres improved land
50.     Do. of unimproved land
51.     No. rods of fence
52.     No. acres in cultivation in 1874
53.     Spring wheat- No. acres
54.     Spring wheat- No. bushels harvested
55.     Winter wheat- No. acres
56.     Winter wheat- No. bushels harvested
57.     Indian corn- No. acres
58.     Indian corn- No. bushels harvested
59.     Rye- No. acres
60.     Rye- No. bushels harvested
61.     Oats- No. of acres
62.     Oats- No. bushels harvested
63.     Barley- No. acres
64.     Barley- No. bushels harvested
65.     Buckwheat- No. acres
66.     Buckwheat- No. bushels harvested
67.     Flax- No. acres
68.     Flax- No bushels of flax seed

P. 4
69.     Syrup and sugar- No. acres of sorghum
70.     Syrup and sugar- No. gallons syrup there-from
71.     Syrup and sugar- No. gallons maple syrup
72.     Syrup and sugar- No. pounds maple sugar
73.     No. acres blue grass for pasture
74.     No acres tame grass
75.     No. tons hay from same
76.     No. tons hay from wild grass
77.     No. bushels grass seed
78.     No. bushels clover seed
79.     Hungarian grass- No. acres
80.     Hungarian grass- No. tons of hay from same
81.     Hungarian grass- No. bushels seed from same
82.     Hops- No. acres
83.     Hops- No pounds
84.     Tobacco- No. acres
85.     Tobacco- No. pounds
86.     Broom corn- No. acres
87.     Broom corn- No. tons of product
88.     Potatoes- No. acres
89.     Potatoes- No. bushels
90.     Sweet Potatoes- No. acres
91.     Sweet Potatoes- No. bushels
92.     Onions- No. acres
93.     Onions- No. bushels
94.     No. bushels turnips
94.5    No. bushels beets
95.     No. bushels peas and beans

P. 5
96.     Acres natural timber
97.     Acres planted timber
98.     Rods of hedge
99.     Apples- No. trees in bearing
100.    Apples- Bushels gathered in ‘74
101.    Pears- No. trees in bearing
102.    Pears- Bushels gathered
103.    Peaches- No. trees in bearing
104.    Peaches- Bushels gathered
105.    Plums- No. trees in bearing
106.    Plums- Bushels gathered
107.    Cherries- No. trees in bearing
108.    Cherries- Bushels gathered
109.    No. other fruit trees in bearing
110.    No. fruit trees not in bearing
111.    Grapes in vineyards- No. acres
112.    Grapes in vineyards- Pounds of grapes gathered
113.    Grapes in vineyards- Gallons of wine made
114.    Grapes not in vineyards- No. of vines
115.    Grapes not in vineyards- Pounds of grapes gathered
116.    Grapes not in vineyards- Gallons of wine made

P. 6
117.    No. horses of all ages
118.    No. horses sold for export in 1874
119.    No  mules and asses
120.    No. same sold for export 1874
121.    No. milch cows
122.    No. pounds of butter made in 1874
123.    No. pounds of cheese made in 1874 not at factory
124.    No. gallons milk sold in 1874
125.    No. of work oxen
126.    No. of other cattle
127.    No  of cattle slaughtered and sold for slaughter in 1874
128.    No. thoroughbred short-horns
129.    No. other improved breeds of cattle, naming them
130.    No. of hogs
131.    No. of Berkshire hogs
132.    No. Poland-China Hogs
133.    No other improved breeds of hogs, naming them
134.    No. of hogs slaughtered or sold for slaughter in 1874

P. 7
135.    Sheep- No. on hand
136.    Sheep- No. merinos
137.    Sheep- No. of other improved breeds, naming them
138.    Sheep- Whole number pounds of wool in 1874
139.    Sheep- No. slaughtered or sold for slaughter in 1874
140.    Sheep- No. killed by dogs in 1874
141.    Number of dogs
142.    No. stands of bees
143.    No. pounds honey and beeswax in 1874
144.    Value of products of farm
145.    Value of market garden products
146.    Value of products of the orchard
147.    Value of small fruit
148.    Value of animals sold for export, slaughtered, and sold for slaughter, and of hides,
        tallow, and all other products of the herd
149.    Value of products of the diary
150.    Value of fuel, railroad ties cut and all other products of the forest

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