New in­for­ma­tion on the 1860, 1870 and 1880 cen­suses

Serve Daily - - BUILDING COMMUNITY - By Ginny Ack­er­son

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 fi rst one was com­pleted. Enu­mer­a­tors had failed to record ad­dresses and the re­sults, which were used to de­ter­mine political rep­re­sen­ta­tion, were con­tested by city offi cials.

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.

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