Wednesday, March 25, 2009

CVGS Program Summary - "Using Federal Non-Population Census Schedules"

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society (CVGS) program meeting today was presented by Everett Ireland CG on "Using Federal Non-Population Schedules." The talk description and Everett's CV are here. There were 30 persons in attendance today.

Everett's talk covered the mortality, agricultural, social and industrial/ manufacturing census schedules taken by the United States since 1790. He discussed why the Federal government used non-population census schedules, when and how they were taken, where to find the existing schedules, and the information that can be obtained from each type of schedule. His six-page handout included a bibliography, examples of census headings, and a great table showing which records are available for each state for the 1850 through 1885 censuses. Not every schedule is extant for every year for every state.

Everett noted that there are fragments of the 1810 Manufacturers Schedule available, most of the 1820 Manufacturers Schedule is available, the 1830 Manufacturers Schedule is not available, and much of the 1840 Industrial (mining, commerce, agricultural, fisheries) schedules are available. For the years 1850 to 1880, the Mortality, Agricultural, Social and Manufacturing schedules are available, but not for every year in every state. In 1880, there is a DDD Schedule for Defective, Dependent and Delinquent persons. The 1885 schedules were done for only seven recently added states and territories. He showed how the Agricultural Schedule could be used to determine how a certain individual's holdings grew or diminished over a 10-year period by comparing successive census records. The presence of both a Population Schedule and an Agricultural Schedule permitted some studies of error and omission rates. One study found that 12% of the records were omitted, misspelled or illegible.

Everett's words of wisdom were to not overlook the non-population schedule, they provide many clues and information, they are hard to find, but offer great rewards to the researcher.There are three books on Everett's bibliography that are available online:

* J.D.B. DeBow, The Seventh Census of the United States: 1850. Washington, D.C. Armstrong Printers, 1850.

* National Archives, Federal Nonpopulation Census Schedules.

* Carroll D. Wright and William C. Hunt, Senate Report, 1900. History and Growth of the United States Census. Washington, DC. GPO. 1900.

This was a helpful and informative program for all researchers in that it offered additional resources for those stymied by the lack of more traditional resources.

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