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Family Tree Friday: Nonpopulation Census Records – Mortality Schedules

by on January 22, 2010


Most genealogists are familiar with the federal population census records and begin their research with these records.  But did you know that the Census Bureau also took a series of Nonpopulation Census records between 1850 and 1880?  They included mortality, agricultural, industrial, social statistics and defective, dependent, and delinquent schedules. These censuses cover the 12 months preceding the take of the census.  For example, the 1860 mortality schedules record deaths that occurred between June 1, 1859, and May 31, 1860.  The censuses are arranged by year and state. 

Even though, unlike the federal population schedules, these schedules do not list everyone, they can provide valuable information you may not find elsewhere.  For example, the mortality schedules often provide the only record of an individual’s death.  This is especially important if you are researching an ancestor who was a slave, as there are almost never any death records for slaves.
1860-mortality-cropped

Here we see Louesa Washington (line 18), who was a black female of 25 years.  She was a slave in Frederick County, Virginia and she died in May of 1860 due to consumption.  The schedule indicates that she had been ill for 425 days before she passed away. 

The mortality schedules can be viewed on www.ancestry.com.  The other nonpopulation schedules are available on microfilm.


Comments

K. Noye June 23, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Do mortality schedules exist for Perry Co, PA in 1850? Ancestry.com does not have them.

Katherine Vollen June 28, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Hi K.,

We hold mortality schedules for 1850 Pennsylvania on Microfilm publication M1838. We’ll check with Ancestry to see why they are not online with the later years. In the meantime, email us at inquire@nara.gov with what you’re looking for and we should be able to help you out.

- Katherine

Katherine June 29, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Hi K.,

I checked with Ancestry.com, and they have digitized everything that was on our microfilm (M1838). Just to be sure, I double checked the microfilm, and didn’t find any schedules for Perry County. Either Perry County didn’t submit any schedules, or the records didn’t survive. I just wanted to let you know.

- Katherine

Maureen Edwards December 31, 2012 at 8:29 pm

Are there statistical analysis or tabulations of the causes of death for the mortality schedules? Thank you.

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