This is the 34th article in the genealogy project “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: 2015 edition.” This week’s theme is “Nonpopulation.” This refers to the Nonpopulation Census Records that were used to find other information not included in the general federal census every decade. These records can help paint a much better picture of a genealogist’s ancestor.
There are agriculture, mortality, and social statistics schedules for the census years of 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880. Manufacturing schedules are available for 1820, 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880. Slave schedules are available for 1850 and 1860. There is also the 1890 “Veterans Census” (The Special Enumeration of Union Veterans and Widows), the Schedules of Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Classes, the Special Census on Deaf Family Marriages and Hearing Relatives, 1888-1895, and Indian Census Rolls, 1885-1940.
Agricultural schedules of 1850, 1860, and 1870 recorded owner’s name, improved and unimproved acreage, cash value of the farm, machinery, livestock, and crops grown and harvested. Small farms and farms that did not produce a certain dollar value of products were excluded from this census schedule.
Congress mandated that manufacturing data be collected, but they gave no detailed instructions to census enumerators, so different information was collected each time. Manufacturing schedules in 1820, 1850, and 1860 included the manufacturer’s name, business or product, capital invested, raw materials used, information about the product produced annually, what kind of power or machinery was used, how many men and women were employed, and the average monthly cost of labor. Much like the agricultural schedule, small manufacturing operations were not included on any of the schedules.
Mortality schedules recorded deaths that occurred the year before the census. For each person who died, the schedule included the person’s name, age, sex, marital status if married or widowed, state or country of birth, month of death, occupation, cause of death, and the length of the final illness. Many states did not require deaths to be recorded until the late 19th century, so these mortality schedules may be the only record of death for some ancestors.
Social statistics schedules recorded information about the ancestor’s community. In 1850 through 1870, these schedules include real estate, number of schools, taxes collected, number of libraries, number of teachers, type of church denominations, and much more. These schedules do not provide information on specific individuals.
Slave schedules were used in the 1850 and 1860 federal census. Slaves were usually not named, but enumerated separately and usually as a number under the slave owner’s name.
The “Veterans Census” was to help record information about Union soldiers and to verify eligibility for pensions. There are nearly 75,000 records for genealogists to research, including information on widows. Enumerators often listed veterans of earlier wars as well.
The Schedules of Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Classes was used in 1880 to record information about people who were blind, deaf, mute, homeless children, prisoners, and those with mental illness.
The census for deaf family marriages was recorded as a form of research about the marriages of the deaf in America at the time. It was the result of the creation of the Volta Bureau, founded in 1887 by Alexander Graham Bell, whose wife was deaf and who taught at a day school for deaf children.
The Indian Census schedules were usually submitted each year by agents or superintendents in charge of Indian reservations, as required by Congress in 1884. The information collected varies from one roll to the next in some instances. Only persons who had a formal affiliation with a tribe under federal supervision are listed on these census rolls.
The schedules can be found through the National Archives, FamilySearch, and Ancestry.com. It is still possible, even with these extra census documents, for a genealogist not to find a specific ancestor. The lucky genealogists who do find an ancestor in these documents will get to know their ancestor much better.
To receive email alerts when a new article is posted, click on the “Subscribe” button next to my photo and bio, located at the bottom of this page or at the top of my main articles page. Follow me on Twitter: @ancestrysleuth to get other genealogy news.