How to find Census Records on Heritage Quest when the image is not available on  indexes all census record, but only shows images for some census records.  If the image isn’t on FamilySearch, you are directed to a subscription database, which  is only accessible if you subscribe or when viewed in your  Family History Center or a in local public library that has a subscription. Without a personal subscription, the images can’t be viewed from home.

Heritage Quest is available to all Michigan residents through MEL; many libraries elsewhere in the United States also offer it.  It can be viewed from home.  When the image isn’t available at FamilySearch, you can use the index information to find it on Heritage Quest.   Here is how:

Find the records at



From this we learn that William P. Withey  in enumerated in the 1840 Census Publication 704 Affiliate Film # (i.e. roll #) 24 Page 273.  But 1840 Census records aren’t in

Sign into Heritage Quest either through the MEL site (Michigan residents) or through your local library.    Select CENSUS and on the Search Census Page select the tab “Find by Page Number” on the far right.


Use the down arrow to display the “Series”  dropdown; select the census year/Publication #.


Once the year/Publication number are selected,

  • put the roll number in in the “Roll” box.  From the above example it would be 24
  • put the page number in the “Page” box.  From the above example it would be 273

Notice that 1840 is not a choice on the row of census years to the left.  In a recent class I said that all census records were available free online at Heritage Quest, then retracted that because I couldn’t find them.  My mind slipped a gear and I momentarily forgot that you must go to this far tab to see those years.  (What can I say…. the older I get, the more often it happens).   Heritage Quest has not indexed 1830, 1840, 1850 so they aren’t options under the two ‘Search” tabs, but they are there and you can find them by roll and page number.

Click the “Search” Arrow and it will take you to the census page that you found indexed in   Notice is it image 1 of 2.  Use the arrow on the right to go to the second image.


And here is the record I wanted — all without paying a subscription cost or going to the library.  Notice I can zoom to make it bigger, print it, download it or reverse the polarity.


From HeritagQuest

Hope you found this helpful.


About barbsnow

Retired Librarian, active genealogist and grandmother.
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