United States Census 1850Edit This Page

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 1850 Census was taken beginning 1 June 1850, for five months. The following information was recorded by the census taker:
                        Occupation males over 15
                        Value of real estate
                        Birthplace—territory of country of birth
                        Attended school or married in the year?
                        If over 20—could read/write?
                        Deaf-mute, blind, insane, or idiotic?
                        Fugitive from state?
                 SLAVE SCHEDULES:
                        Name of slave owner
                        # of slaves owned
                        # of slaves manumitted (released from slavery)
                        NO NAME OF SLAVES
                        Age, color, sex
                        Deaf-mute, blind, insane, idiotic?
                        Fugitive from state?

1790-2000 Info: http://www.census.gov/prod/2000pubs/cff-2.pdf


The 1850 census can be used to:1

                        Find free population/slave pop. & mortality, agriculture, industry data
                        Identify families by name
                        Identify birthplaces which helps w/immigration
                        Identify ages —go to vital records
                        Identify Real estate—land and tax records
                        Identifly probable relationships—be careful!
                        Identify occupations/property value
                        Identify possible remarriages/step relationships
1850-1930 Search Tips:  http://www.archives.gov/genealogy/census/1850-1930.html 

 Unique Features and Problems

1.  Census takers were given more instructions and guidelines in print
2.  First census to list names of all in the household
3.  First to list ages, sex, color, & place of birth
4.  Census taken in order of visitation
5.  Listed those married within the year
6.  Listed those who died after 1 June
7.  Dwelling house number
8.  Real estate value
9.  Occupation of males over 16
10. Whether a fugitive of the state
11. Though it still did not list slave names, it listed more information about the slaves
12. Listed heath or lifestyle issues: “Deaf, dumb, blind, insane, idiotic, pauper or convict”
13. Omitted children born after 1 June (even if the census taker took it later)
14. Indians that lived on reservations or unsettles tracts of land were not included.
15. Make count by personal inquiry at every dwelling
16. Enumerator to make 2 additional copies:
        - Clerk of county court
        - Secretary of state/territory
        - Census Office
17. No Indians in reservations or unsettled land

States Covered and Missing

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Mississippi
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • Virginia (inc. West Virginia)
  • Wisconsin

 No states missing.


  • Minnesota (inc. Dakotas)
  • New Mexico (inc. Arizona)
  • Oregon (inc. Washington & Idaho)
  • Utah

Web Sites

1790-2000 Info: http://www.census.gov/prod/2000pubs/cff-2.pdf

1850-1930 Search Tips: http://www.archives.gov/genealogy/census/1850-1930.html


1. Szucs, Loretto Dennis and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking. The Source: A Guide book to American Genealogy. 3rd ed. (Provo, UT: Ancestry, 2006.)


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