Monday, September 10, 2012

Questions About the 1890 Census and Deportations

David asks:
I heard that there are fragments of the 1890 census available. Do you know if there are any available for South Carolina?

Only approximately 1% of the 1890 census survived a fire in the basement of the Commerce Building in Washington, DC.1 and South Carolina was not one of the lucky states.

Here is a list of what survived:

Alabama - Portions of Perry County (Perryville Beat 11 and Severe Beat 8)
District of Columbia - Q, 13th, 14th, R, W, Corcoran, 15th, S, R, Riggs Street and Johnson Avenue
Georgia - Muscogee County (Columbus)
Illinois - McDonough County (Mound Township)
Minnesota - Wright County (Rockford)
New Jersey - Hudson County (Jersey City)
New York - Westchester County (Eastchester) and Suffolk County (Brookhaven Township)
North Carolina - Gaston County (South Point Township and River Bend Township) and Cleveland County (Township No. 2)
Ohio - Hamilton County (Cincinnati) and Clinton County (Wayne Township)
South Dakota - Union County (Jefferson Township)
Texas - Ellis County (J.P. No. 6, Mountain Peak and Ovilla Precinct), Hood County (Precinct No. 5), Rusk County (No. 6 and J.P. No. 7), Trinity County (Trinity Two and Precinct No. 2), Kaufman County (Kaufman)2

If you are lucky enough to have families that are listed in the 1890 then you will get a little surprise. The 1890 census looks completely different than the the other censuses. There is only one family per page.


Wayne asks:
"Do you know where I can find deportation records for 1855/56? I have an ancestor who was married in Milbury, MA in 1855 and then "disappeared". Rumor has it that he had another wife in England and was sent back."

During this time period, expulsions/deportations were done at the local level. Residents were just told to leave. There wasn't a formal process through the state or federal governments. Deportation as we know it today didn't start until the late 1800s There were some deportations during the colonial period through the late 1700s but this practice faded away due to the costs and because some politicians declared it was unconstitutional. Your best bet is to research the local papers. If someone was asked to leave a small town it mostly likely made the paper.


1. Kathleen W. Hinckley, Your Guide to the Federal Census for genealogists, researchers and family historians (Cincinnati: Betterway Books, 2002), 50.

2. Ibid., 50, 56.


Copyright © 2012 Michele Simmons Lewis

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