United States Census Mortality Schedules
Mortality schedules list people who died during the previous 12 months. Mortality schedules were taken along with population schedules during the 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880 censuses, and in six states (Colorado, Florida, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, and South Dakota) in 1885. These schedules include persons who died between June 1st through May 31st in the year prior to the federal census. A typical mortality schedule will list the dead person's name, age, sex, color (white, black, or mulatto), married or widowed, birthplace, month of death, occupation, and cause of death. Though part of the federal censuses, mortality schedules are separate from the population schedules.
On the Internet. Free 1850 mortality schedule images and indexes are on the Internet at the FamilySearch Record Search - Pilot Site. Ancestry has relatively "complete" mortality schedules for each census year 1850 to 1885. They offer these mortality schedule indexes and images for "free" on the Internet in return for registering your e-mail information with them. Although Ancestry has images and every name indexed for the states they covered, it is important to check Ancestry's source database to determine if the state and year you are searching for has been included (a few state-years are missing). Each state's census page on the FamilySearch Research Wiki shows which mortality schedules should be availalble for the state.
Free county-by-county typescripts of most states and mortality schedule years are also available on the Internet at Mortality Schedules 1850-1880.
Microfilms. The Family History Library has copies of most of the available mortality schedules and indexes on microfilm. These are listed in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under
- [STATE] - CENSUS
- [STATE] - VITAL RECORDS
You can also find some originals or copies of mortality schedules in some of the respective states' archives (see the Archives and Libraries page of the state's Wiki page), or in the DAR Library, or in the National Archives.
Microfiche Index. Ronald Vern Jackson's AIS Microfiche Census Indexes are available at many larger genealogical libraries. Search 8 in the set is an index for most mortality schedules from 1850 to 1885.
Uses. Use mortality schedules to supplement population schedule information, and for clues suggesting possible death records and obituaries to research. They are also a source of secondary birth information.
- William Dollarhide, The Census Book: A Genealogist's Guide to Federal Census Facts, Schedules and Indexes. (Bountiful, Utah: Heritage Quest, 1999.) (FHL 973 X27d). WorldCat entry.
- Loretto Dennis Szucs, and Matthew Wright, Finding Answers in U.S. Census Records. (Orem, Utah: Ancestry, 2001) (FHL 973 X27s). WorldCat entry.