News From Terre Haute, Indiana


October 6, 2007

Genealogy: Census of 1850 included agricultural, industry schedules

Along with the mortality schedules, discussed in the Sept. 30 column, the 1850 federal census included agricultural schedules (found also in 1860, 1870, and 1880) and manufacturing/industry schedules (found also in 1820, 1860, 1870, and 1880). Although usually overlooked, these schedules are likely to be a great help for family researchers if they can be located and inspected. As a group, these are referred to as “nonpopulation” census schedules.

Agricultural schedules provide a wealth of information on every farm that produced more than $100 worth of products in a year. The schedules contain the name of the farm owner (or manager), the number of acres owned, both improved and unimproved, and the cash value of the farm, equipment, and livestock. These schedules also list an inventory of livestock and farm products (such as grains, vegetables, fruits, tobacco, hay, wine, dairy products, seeds, silk cocoons, cotton, wool, maple sugar, cane sugar, molasses, honey, and beeswax, to name a few).

The manufacturing schedules list the name of the owner, the kind of business operated, what was produced, the amount of money invested in the operation, the kinds and quantities of raw materials used, the annual quantity and value of the finished products, the kind of machinery used, the number of employees, and the average monthly cost of the laborers. Only manufacturing operations producing more than $500 worth of goods were included in the schedules.

When researching the agriculture schedules, remember that many farmers had operations “on the side” that were actually manufacturing businesses. Examples would be farmers who operated mills, did blacksmith work, made barrels, tanned hides, or sold dairy products, providing these services or goods to the public. These sideline operations of farmers would also be included on the manufacturing schedules, so check both. In addition, keep in mind that someone found on a census living in the city could still own land out of town that was farmed, and therefore would be listed on the agricultural schedule.

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