Category Archives: Research

Census Reports – The First Fifty Years

Taking a Closer Look at the Early Census Reports

Manually adding Census info to the genealogy database has proven to be an interesting project. While I love researching genealogy, I have to admit reading a Government website about Government documents holds very little appeal. Eventually I gave in, started reading and learned a few things. What surprised me most was that there is a second screen of information in the 1840 Census. It’s there that you’ll find the names and ages of Revolutionary Pensioners. You’ll also find information about how the family earned a living. Were they involved in manufacturing, commerce, farming or some kind of navigation on the rivers or oceans? I didn’t realize the questions asked by the enumerators referred to the date of the Census, not the when the questions were asked. For example, the official date of the 1830 Census was June 1st and it took an entire year to complete. This meant if the enumerator was at your house in May of 1831 you were expected to give an accounting of the previous year.

The first 20 years of Census data only provides us with a tally of family members and the name of the head of household. Continue reading