United States Census, Mortality Schedules, 1850 (FamilySearch Historical Records)
|This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.|
Access the records: United States Census (Mortality Schedule), 1850 .
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 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.
For a list of records by localities currently published in this collection, select the .
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
Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor.
Mortality schedules are a national level file of state-by-state death registers. 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.
To search the collection image 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.
Search the collection by image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination.
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 video at FamilySearch Search Tips.
Known Issues with This Collection
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 firstname.lastname@example.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 Wiki Articles
Contributions to This Article
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Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.
Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
Citations for individual image records are available for this collection. Browse through images in this collection and click on the "Show Citation" box: United States Census (Mortality Schedule), 1850
When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. 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.
Citation for This Collection
The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org. Source citations include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.
- "United States Census (Mortality Schedule), 1850." Index and Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing NARA microfilm publication T655. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.