United States Census, Mortality Schedules, 1850 (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

From FamilySearch Wiki

FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.

Contents

Record Description

The collection consists of an index and images of mortality schedules listing inhabitants of the United States who died between June 1849 and May 1850. This was the first time a mortality schedule was included with the general population census schedule. Searchable data and browse are available for the following: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia. Mortality schedules are not available at all for other states. The schedules consist of large printed forms filled in by the census enumerators.

Mortality schedules are a national level file of state-by-state death registers for the year prior to the federal census. Mortality schedules exist for the census year 1850, 1860, and 1880. Census enumerators requested information from the head of household about deaths that had occurred in the year prior to the census. In 1918 to 1919, the Bureau of the Census distributed the original schedules to states or to the National Library of the Daughters of the American Revolution when states were not interested. Mortality schedules list those deceased during the year prior to the census. This is a small percentage of the total population. At the time of the 1870 census, it was surmised that as many as one-third of all deaths were not reported. For instance, when a family was scattered by the death of the head of household, there was no one left to report it. In 1880 a supplemental report from attending physicians added 60,000 additional names to the schedules.

In the absence of vital registration in many states, mortality schedules provided nationwide death statistics for one year of each decade, 1850–1880. According to the official statistical report for 1870, this was done to assess the death rate for age-groups, sex, race, nationality, and occupation and to “deduc[e] the effect of the various conditions of life upon the duration of life.”

Census mortality schedules are usually accurate, but this accuracy depended on the knowledge of the informant and the care of the census enumerator.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for United States Census (Mortality Schedule), 1850.

Record Content

The records usually contain the following:

  • Name, age, gender, and color of deceased
  • Free person or slave
  • Whether married or widowed
  • Birthplace (state, territory, or country)
  • Month in which death occurred
  • Occupation (profession or trade)
  • Cause of death
  • If parents were foreign born (1870 Census only)
  • Length of residence in the United States (1880 Census only)
  • Father’s and mother’s birthplace (1880 Census only)

How to Use the Record

To begin your search you will need to know:

  • The full name of your ancestor
  • Some identifying information such as age, residence and month in which death occurred

Search the Collection

To search the collection by name fill in your ancestor’s name in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about those in the list to what you already know about your own ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person.

If you did not find the person you were looking for, you may need to search the collection by image.
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒Select the "State" category
⇒Select the "County" category
⇒Select the "Township or other division of county" which takes you to the images.

Look at each image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.

With either search keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names or variations of their name throughout their life.

For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line article FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.

Using the Information

Using the death information, you can search for obituaries, mortuary records, cemeteries, and probate records, all of which may provide additional genealogical information. Mortality schedules also list ages and birthplaces for a time period when births were not reported. Use this information to look for other records that may provide information about the individual, parents, and siblings.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
  • You may need to compare the information of more than one family or person to make this determination.
  • Be aware that, as with any index, transcription errors may occur.

Unable to Find Your Ancestor?

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for alias names, nicknames and abbreviated names.
  • Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals that may be your ancestor.

Known Issues with This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Related Websites

Related Wiki Articles

How You Can Contribute

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.


Citations for This Collection

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information; that is, cite your sources. This will help people find the record again and evaluate the reliability of the source. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records. Citations are available for the collection as a whole and each record or image individually.

Collection Citation:

"United States Census (Mortality Schedule), 1850." Database with Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2015. Citing NARA microfilm publication T655. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

The citation for a record is available with each record in this collection, at the bottom of the record screen. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for United States Census (Mortality Schedule), 1850.

Image citation:

The citation for an image is available on each image in this collection by clicking Show Citation at the bottom left of the image screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for United States Census (Mortality Schedule), 1850.

 

Need wiki, indexing, or website help? Contact our product teams.


Did you find this article helpful?

You're invited to explain your rating on the discussion page (you must be signed in).

  • This page was last modified on 27 July 2015, at 19:52.
  • This page has been accessed 13,718 times.