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New information on the 1860, 1870 and 1880 censuses

Feb 06, 2016 01:01PM

The 1860 Census recorded the names of every person in each household. In addition, enumerators were given printed instructions, which promoted a greater degree of accuracy compared to earlier censuses. The following categories were included in the census: name; age as of the census day; sex; color; birthplace; occupation of persons over age 15; value of real estate; whether married within the previous year; whether deaf, dumb, blind, insane, a pauper, or a convict; whether able to read or speak English; and whether the person attended school within the previous year. No relationships were shown between members of a household.

In the 1870 Census, enumerators recorded the names of every person in the household and included the following categories: name; age at last birthday (if a child was under 1 year of age, months of age were to be stated as fractions, such as 1/12); sex; color; profession; occupation or trade of every male and female; value of real estate; place of birth; whether mother and father were of foreign birth; whether born or married within the year and the month; whether they could read and write; whether deaf, dumb, blind, or insane or “idiotic.” No relationships were shown between members of a household. In 1870, New York City, Indianapolis, St. Louis and Philadelphia had a second enumeration several months after the first one was completed. Enumerators had failed to record addresses and the results, which were used to determine political representation, were contested by city officials.

The 1880 Census was the first to record an individual’s relation to the head of household. In addition, the 1880 Census was the first to identify the state, county and other subdivisions; the name of the street and house number for urban households; illness or disability at the time the census was taken; marital status; number of months unemployed during the year; and the state or country of birth of every individual’s father and mother. Thirty-eight states were enumerated along with eight territories: Arizona, Dakota, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Non-organized Alaska was also enumerated, but the “Indian Territory” (now Oklahoma) was not enumerated for non-Indians. The following information was collected for each household: address, occupants and their relationship to head of family; sex, race, age, marital status, ability to read and write, birthplace, and birthplace of parents; occupation and number of months unemployed; and whether blind, deaf and dumb, crippled, maimed, idiotic, insane, bedridden, or otherwise disabled.