Friday, August 10, 2012

Nonpopulation Schedules

Most researchers are very familiar with the federal population schedules but do you know about all of the different nonpopulation schedules?
  • Agricultural schedules - 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880
  • Defective,dependent and delinquent schedules - 1880
  • Manufacturers schedule - 1810, 1820, 1880
  • Industrial schedules - 1850, 1860, 1870
  • Mortality schedule - 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880. [See my recent blog post about Mortality Schedules specifically]
  • Social statistics - 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880

Not all schedules are available for all locations but it might be worth your while to check. The book Genealogical Research in the National Archives of the United States has a list of all schedules that the National Archives has on microfilm. Be aware that the National Archives does not have all of the schedules. Some are held at the state archives. For example, the National Archives does not have the nonpopulation schedules for the state of Mississippi. They are held at the Mississippi Department of Archives & History in Jackson. The Family History Library also has some of the schedules on microfilm. has added some nonpopulation schedules to their census collections so check there too.

I just received two pages from the 1850 agricultural schedule in Perry County, Mississippi. I never really thought the agricultural schedule would tell me a whole lot but I am writing a biography about Silas Simmons and I wanted a complete picture of his life. I knew he was a farmer but how big was his farm? What crops did he grow? What animals did he have? The agricultural schedule did not disappoint me:

    Silas Simmons
  • 40 acres improved land
  • 180 acres unimproved land
  • Value of land $500
  • Value of farming implements and machinery $50
  • 4 horses
  • 8 milch cows
  • 4 working oxen
  • 6 other cattle
  • 3 sheep
  • 50 swine
  • Value of livestock $425
  • 200 bushels of Indian corn
  • 10 bushels of peas and beans
  • 200 bushels of sweet potatoes
  • 100 pounds of beeswax and honey
  • Value of homemade manufactures $40
  • Value of animals slaughtered $75

That is quite a bit of information! I couldn't have gotten that anywhere else. I would have loved to have been able to compare this to what he had in 1860 but unfortunately he died before the census was taken.

When I saw this it became immediately clear that I hadn't been taking advantage of what all is out there. Yes, it is more difficult to get these schedules since they are not available online (with the exception of some of the mortality schedules) but it is worth the effort. The social statistics schedules do not name names but they are great for getting background information about the area including crime statistics, property values and the number of churches.

One side note. The slave schedules are categorized as population schedules. These were done in 1850 and 1860. The slave owner is named but the names of the slaves are not given. You will see a list of how many, what ages, what sex, and what race (black, mulatto). The 1860 also adds the number of slave houses. These schedules are of use to get a clearer picture of a particular slave owner's wealth. If you are researching a black line you can use them as well to help confirm who was where when. For example, let's say you have a 1851 deed that transfers ownership of a "slave named Charity." If you look at the 1850 slave schedule for the previous owner and you see that he only had one female slave you can be pretty confident the one listed is Charity. Knowing her age in 1850 might help you separate her out of other records as you are doing research. Obviously this is a bit of a hit or miss approach but sometimes you get lucky.

Copyright © 2012 Michele Simmons Lewis

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