I'm trying to find the 1840 census record for John Knight, b. 1793 in the 1840 census. Both Ancestry and FamilySearch list him in their index, but have no record. Here is result on FamilySearch:

enter image description here

Why is he in the index, but there is no image. Page 299 is page 28 of 33 at Family Search and is the last page of 32 images shown on Ancestry and is right hand side of two page spread with names on left page. I searched the left page and see no John Knight.

Where can I find his record? Why would it be in index but missing from images?

  • 1
    Are you viewing the image directly from the index in each case? If so, what happens when you go in and browse the images? Have you tried searching Find My Past? Viewing the US Census should be free there (an artifact of FMP's acquisition of the website Mocavo).
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 2:00
  • The familysearch record link is familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XHRK-54X . An image of Page 299 is at archive.org/stream/populationsc18400114unit#page/n299/mode/1up . There is a John K... at the top of Page 300, but it looks more like Kingston than Knight IMO. Possible that 300 & 299 go together instead of 298 & 299, but I don't know how one would determine that.
    – bgwiehle
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 12:20
  • @JanMurphy I searched the prior pages on Ancestry and did not locate John Knight.
    – WilliamKF
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 18:56
  • Rather than searching for your subject's name, the first step is to examine the digital images to see if pages might be missing.
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 19:54

3 Answers 3


Many NARA microfilm publications have a descriptive pamphlet which describes the microfilm and explains how it is arranged. These publications sometimes say when pages have been lost (similar to the Known Issues articles at FamilySearch. I have not been able to find such a description of the records from NARA yet, but I will link to it if I can find one. (The DPs are often reproduced as the first images on the microfilm rolls.)

There may be some information about missing records in Chapter 1 of NARA's Guide to Genealogical Research in the National Archives; in the section Useful Publications, the online research guide 1790-1890 Federal Population Censuses - Part 1 says:

Details on many of these records appear in Guide to Genealogical Research in the National Archives, chapter 1. Table 4 of the Guide (pp. 14-16) identifies most of the microfilm publications for the mortality schedules; section 1.3 of chapter 1 (pp. 28-38) discusses each state's special census schedules and problems.

Stephen P. Morse's One-Step Web pages has a Description of US Census Microfilm Rolls, 1790-1940 and the list for Kentucky includes this entry:

  1. Henderson, Henry, Hickman, and Hopkins Counties

A DP or roll list from NARA might say if the counties are on the roll in alphabetical order.

If you want to try browsing all the images for roll 114 of M704, you can view the Allen County Public Library's copy for free at the Internet Archive. Stephen P. Morse's site also has a feature which allows you to browse the individual rolls.

FamilySearch's index was provided to them by Ancestry. So what I would like to know is who provided that index to Ancestry?

MyHeritage Library Edition appears to have the same issue. Here is their page for the same record as the one you found on FamilySearch:

enter image description here

Source: 1840 United States Federal Census MyHeritage.com [online database]. Lehi, UT, USA: MyHeritage (USA) Inc. https://records.myheritagelibraryedition.com/research/collection-10124/1840-united-states-federal-census Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls.

Record: https://records.myheritagelibraryedition.com/research/record-10124-246557/john-knight-in-1840-united-states-federal-census John Knight Year: 1840; State: Kentucky; County: Henry; Township: West Division; NARA Publication: M704; NARA Roll: 114; Frame: 7827; Sheet: 299

Citation: John Knight Residence: 1840 - West Division, Henry, Kentucky, United States

It is the only hit on the first page of the search results for John Knight in Kentucky that does not have an image.

By contrast, a search for John Knight with name variants checked at findmypast, which has the US Census collection for free (it was formerly free at Mocavo, which was purchased by findmypast), shows 7 results, none of whom appear to be from Henry County. Their search results page says:

Last name First name Born Died Event Record set Location

  • Knight John — — 1840 Us Census 1840 Christian, Kentucky, United States
  • Knight John — — 1840 Us Census 1840 Christian, Kentucky, United States
  • Knight John — — 1840 Us Census 1840 Germantown, Mason, Kentucky, United States
  • Knight John T — — 1840 Us Census 1840 Division 1, Fleming, Kentucky, United States
  • Knight J — — 1840 Us Census 1840 Northern District, Woodford, Kentucky, United States

  • Knight J W — — 1840 Us Census 1840 Louisville, Jefferson, Kentucky, United States

  • Night Rufus J — — 1840 Us Census 1840 Jefferson, Kentucky, United States

(I haven't clicked through to view the images, so I haven't confirmed that the images belong to the counties cited in the search results.)


If you click on the little i to the right of the 1840 census title it leads you to the wiki page about the census. Down that page is a section, United States Census, 1840 known issues which refers to an article which says :

Some records are missing.

It then lists some options for you to try to access the information,

Most missing records are available on microfilm.

and gives links on how to proceed from there. Looks like you may have to find original microfilm in a family history center...

  • Your link to the Known Issues article in the FamilySearch Research Wiki didn't make it into your answer. Can you retrace your path and find it again? I'm not seeing a link to Known issues in this article: familysearch.org/wiki/en/Kentucky_Census - thanks.
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 18:14
  • 1
    @Jan Murphy Ok, I think I've got the links fixed, and added step by step links ending in the article. Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 18:49
  • How would John Knight end up in the index, but not the digitized images?
    – WilliamKF
    Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 23:28
  • Digital files get mislabeled, corrupted, ect.(I'd just be guessing beyond the census page info-you'll have to check with the people with the data. There are several Knight entries in the other section of the Henry census, by the way, including: Charles(pg18), William(pg20), Preston(pg22) and Allen(pg44). Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 23:39

I looked all though the Records for Kentucky in the 1840 Census. Five John Knights, but none of them from that county. So, I think it may be a lost record as well. Unless someone got the county wrong somewhere.

  • 2
    Hi, welcome to G&FH.SE! Your answer doesn't really answer the question -- it is more of a comment. Can you add anything to your answer to make it more substantial? Even a list of the five different John Knights that you were able to find, and a note about how and where you found them, would help beef up this answer -- then people would have that to compare with their own search results.
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented May 27, 2017 at 18:56

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