|Using Census Records for Genealogical Research|
Special Federal Census Schedules
Agriculture & Manufacturing Schedules are arranged by state and county on microfilm. They are typically not indexed, although information provided by the population schedule will enable the researcher to locate the desired citation on the agricultural or manufacturing schedules. Agriculture Schedules were taken for the years 1840 through 1910, though the 1890 schedules were destroyed by the already noted fire in 1921 and the 1900 & 1910 schedules were destroyed by an act of Congress. Manufacturers Schedules are available for 1810 & 1820 and 1840 through 1880. The quantity and quality of the data remaining for researchers depends on what has survived both natural disasters and Congressional destruction acts as well as on whether the compilations were totally statistical (as in the case of 1840) or included more identifying information.
While many claim these schedules are not terribly significant genealogically, they can still provide some interesting as well as meaningful "contexting" information about one's ancestors, their lives, and the work they did. Agriculture schedules can help fill-in data when tax and other land records cannot be located. They can also complement probate information, more specifically identify property, and assist in distinguishing between individuals of the same name.
Mortality Schedules list those residents of a county who died during the twelve months prior to the taking of the census. If the census was taken on 1 June 1850, the enumerator would ask who in the household had died between 1 June 1849 and 31 May 1850, and would gather information on name, age, sex, birthplace, occupation and cause of death. With few exceptions, Mortality Schedules survive only for the census years of 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. Some are indexed in book form. Others may be indexed on microfiche.
Social Statistics Schedules were compiled from 1850 to 1880. Among the information these schedules contain, family historians will find the lists of cemeteries within city boundaries, the lists of churches with some accompanying organizational history, and the lists of organizations, societies, and groups most interesting and useful.
Slave Schedules list slaves in the southern states for the years 1850 and 1860. They are arranged in order by state and county with some states having published indexes to facilitate searching for data about a particular owner. Very little information is supplied beyond the owners' names, and the sexes and ages of the slaves.
1890 Special Census of Union Civil War Veterans and their Widows was meant to list only Union veterans and widows, but occasionally Confederate veterans were included. This census is available for states from the second alphabetical half of Kentucky to the end of the alphabet. Schedules for Alabama through the first half of Kentucky were destroyed and are not available. Some of these surviving schedules are indexed either in book form or on microfiche.
Other Census/Enumeration Schedules
State Census Records:
Some states also took a series of separate censuses, often in the middle of the decade and often but not always in years ending with "5." These state censuses tend to mirror their closest federal counterpart while containing a few informational "extras" (military service or religious affiliation). Many state census records are un-indexed. Sometimes using the nearest indexed federal schedule will assist one in narrowing the search in state censuses.
Many cities, towns, and counties conducted special censuses for a myriad of reasons. Some of these local enumerations are found under such titles school censuses, sheriff's censuses, and a variety of ethnic censuses. Like their state counterparts, many of these are un-indexed. Because they tend to cover more limited geographic areas, though, searching un-indexed local schedules should not be that formidable.