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Archiver > TMG > 2000-01 > 0949305862

From: "Mills" <>
Subject: Re: TMG-L: Census
Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2000 02:04:22 -0600

Hugh Wilding wrote:
> As I understand things, the US Federal Census could be extended over quite
> time period (presumably with an attendant risk of multiple enumeration?)

You got it! Then we have the fun of proving that there were indeed two
enumerations of the same person or family and not two different households
to start with. It gets really interesting to see the variance that often
occurs between one entry and the other.

> asked a range of questions which became ever more extensive (at least to
> judge by the web sites I've looked at).

Indeed. It's no wonder that in the midst of the 1990 census, a headline from
a sparsely populated, still-wooded community in Alabama read: Census Taker

> Also, from the citations that I've
> seen, there seems a degree of significance in the "schedules" quoted
from -
> I'm afraid I don't undertand these but I'm sure y'all put me right...

Ahh, those wonderful schedules! In 1850, as you probably know, our censuses
began to name every individual (theoretically!). Also starting in that year
the census takers created several rolls (or schedules), simultaneously.
Agricultural, industrial and manufacturing, mining & fisheries, slave,
mortality, and social statistics (1850-1860) with alterations each census
year thereafter. No slave schedule in 1870, of course. In 1880 they added a
delight set of "social schedules" we call the DDD -- Delinquent, Dependent,
and Defective (prisoners, paupers, and the mentally deranged). In 1890, we
had a special veterans & widows schedule, which is only partly extant.
Actually, we had a few extras schedules in random years before 1850 -- a
partially extant manufacturing schedule for 1820 and a social statistics
schedule in 1840, for example.

Almost all the special schedules after 1880 have been destroyed. But for the
years they do exist, they are wonderful! As the enumerators went from
household to household, if someone qualified for the agricultural schedule
on the basis of the amount of their produce that year (and this included
some townspeople as well), then they were listed on the ag sch as well as
the regular population schedule--with a great wealth of data about acreage
(cleared v. raw), cattle, crops, etc. If they rolled cigars or made hats or
whatever for a living, then they were added to the manufacturing schedule,
with comparable detail. If someone in the family died during the 12 months
preceding the census day, they weren't listed on the population schedule but
were listed on the mortality schedule. Etc. Etc. Sometimes we find people
on one of these auxiliary schedules who have been left off the main
schedule, and there are just absolutely unlimited possibilities for using
the tidbits from other schedules to resolve troublesome identity cases.

I guess you can tell, I get worked up into a lather over censuses <g>.


- -------------------------------------------------
Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG
Editor, National Genealogical Society Quarterly

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