Easy to Miss Info on Certain Censuses

census-john-kittsA few of the different US Federal Censuses that started back in 1790 do have a few very interesting questions that could provide previously unknown information on your ancestors.

Looking closely at the US Federal 1820 census at column # 12 it states ‘Foreigners Not Naturalized’. So this would give you a clue if someone in that household (again just the homeowner’s name is listed) may have arrived in America in recent years. If the mark indicating the head of household with a name was not naturalized, that extra information.

With the 1840 census to the second page in the middle of the records there was a place to write a name and mark if someone in the household in 1840 had served during the American Revolutionary War (1776-1783). The actual header states – place the name of “Pensioners for Revolutionary or military services, included in the foregoing.” Besides the name, the person’s age was provided. That would be great information to know an ancestor served in the military before 1840 and their name is written out. Knowing the person was a pensioner, you can then request copies of their pension files.

In the 1850 and 1860 US Federal Slave Schedule Census is a column on ‘Fugitives from the State’. This #6 column refers to runaway slaves. If there is a mark indicating such a run away only the slave owner’s name will be written to the far left column. However, with the name and the location, it may provide some clues on the slaves held. To check review local newspaper articles for runaway slaves for that owner, also see if county records still exist.

census-sickWith the 1880 census you can learn about an ancestor’s health the day the census taker arrived. In columns #15 – #20, questions were asked as to each person’s health. Not just if the person was blind, deaf, insane, disabled, an idiot, but if the ancestor or a member of the household told the census taker details about a person those details could be written down. Examples might include the person was experiencing chills, vomiting, a broken arm, or stomach problems, etc. If you are looking at the UK (United Kingdom) censuses of 1881 and 1891, the same noting of health issues was done.

Using the 1910 Federal Census you might locate a former Civil war veteran ancestor if they were still alive. Go to the second page, column # 30 and it states ‘Whether a survivor of the Union or Confederacy Army or Navy’. Many times it was marked with a couple letters such as ‘UA” representing Union Army, again what a find.¬†census-Montgomery G. Cooper

So look closer and review every column and all the individuals in a household – many treasures of information to be discovered.

Photos: John Kitts was born on 7 May 1762 and died on 18 September 1870, aged 108 years, 4 months and 11 days. He was a member of the First Pennsylvania Regiment of the Revolutionary War; a sick person in bed and Civil War veteran Captain Montgomery G. Cooper from Florida.

Related FamilyTree.com genealogy blogs:

U.S. Federal Censuses

Other Methods to Locate Someone in the Census

Tips in Census Searching


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