Beyond Population Census Schedules
Twigs and Trees, January 31, 2002
Generally when working with the census, genealogists restrict their research to the population schedules, those schedules that list the individuals living in the household. When working in the population schedule, if the family lived on a farm, you should have seen a column at the far right of the census page that had a number in it. This number was the entry for that family in the farm schedule, also known as the Agriculture Schedule, and is one of the non-population schedules.
Non-population schedules were created to track things like the number of bushels of corn a farm had, or the number of manufacturers in a given community. Such non-population schedules will not supply you with names of those in the household. What they will offer you is a little insight into the lives of your ancestors.
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Agriculture and Manufacture Schedules
The Agriculture Schedules, or farm schedules, were taken to track the various crops produced on the farms. There were also columns for recording the total numbers of different animals that were raised on the farm. While not defining anything about the human occupants of the farm, you can get an idea of how prosperous the farm was. Also, when used in conjunction with probate records, deeds, tax rolls, and inventories, you may better be able to distinguish between two men with the same name.
The Manufacturer's Schedules, also known as Industry Schedules in 1850 to 1870, were designed to collect information on the different manufacturers, mining companies, fisheries, mercantile businesses, commercial businesses, and trading businesses. For each of these, the enumerators recorded the name of the company or the owner, the kind of business, the amount of money invested in the business, and the quantity and value of materials, labor, machinery, and products. The 1880 manufacturer's schedule actually had a regular enumeration similar to that for earlier years. It also had special agents who recorded information on some of the large industries and also in cities with over 8,000 individuals. Unfortunately, these special enumerations are not extant.
The Social Statistics schedules were only taken from 1850 to 1880. These unique censuses offer family historians some interesting information. In the social statistics schedules, you can find information on cemeteries, trade societies and other groups, and churches.
The schedules detail the cemeteries located within the city boundaries and include maps showing where the cemeteries are located. In addition, they give a name, address and general description for each cemetery, procedures for internment, which cemeteries are no longer functioning, and why they have closed.
For researchers with Masons or other fraternal organization members, the lists of trade societies, lodges, clubs, and other groups may help in determining the lodge in which an ancestor was a member. Included in the schedule for each entry is the address, the major branches of the club or group, the names of the executive officers, and statistics showing membership, meetings, and the financial worth of the group. You might find your ancestor listed as one of the executive officers.
Finally, the social statistic schedules also list the various churches with a short history, a statement of doctrine, and statistical details of membership. Just learning which churches were located in a given county or town can be beneficial to your research.
Unfortunately, discovering where these non-population schedules are housed may be difficult. They have not survived for all years or for all states. The Agriculture schedules are on microfilm and are the easiest to find. You may locate some of them through the Family History Library. Other repositories to investigate would be state archives, historical societies, and genealogical societies.
Rhonda R. McClure is a professional genealogist specializing in celebrity trees and computerized genealogy. She has been involved in online genealogy for fifteen years. She is an award-winning author of several genealogy how-to books, including The Complete Idiot's Guide to Online Genealogy, The Genealogist's Computer Companion, and Finding Your Famous and Infamous Ancestors. She may be contacted at [email protected].
See more advice from Rhonda in her columns Expert Tips, Tigs and Trees, and Overheard in the Message Boards.