Just a recap: Census records can give you the most details about a person and their family than any other record and can give you a snapshot of how they were living at a particular time; after starting with what you know now, the first step in genealogy research, the census records are the best starting point in your next step of research. They offer a plethora of information that will start you off and lead you to many of your next steps. Not only can you find the standard information on your ancestor like their name, age, birthplace, and residence; you can find so much more! Depending on the census record, you can also find their address, their occupation, their parents’ birthplaces, their citizenship status, their year of immigration, their marriage info, their military service info, how many children they have, others living in the household and their info, the value of their home and personal belongings, and more!
This is a continuing series that will be focusing on the 1850 to 1950 U.S. Federal Census Records, and today’s topic is the 1880 Census.
The 1880 U.S. Census: This was the fourth U.S. Census that listed EVERY household member by name and had detailed categories, and just as in the 1850, 1860 and 1870 censuses, it was enumerated starting on June 1st. It was also the first census to list the relationship of each in the household to the head of household!
The 1880 census had some very new, and EXTREMELY useful categories! This census had many of the same categories and details as the 1850, 1860 and 1870 censuses such as including ALL household members’ names; their ages, sex, color, and place of birth; occupation information; whether they were deaf/mute, blind, insane or “idiotic”(underdeveloped mentally); whether any of the household members attended school or were married within the year; literacy information; the month of any births of that year (1870), but now with some more details added to some of the categories, some new categories, some new names to some of the previous categories, and some details and categories taken out.
There were no longer details about the value of any real estate (1850 & 1860) and personal estate (1860) owned; any male citizens over 21, or any males over 21 denied the right to vote (such as from not being a citizen, participating in a rebellion or another crime, etc.).
Some of the new categories or changed/combined categories for this census were Civil Condition, Health and Nativity.
If you could get some more clues from some of the other details that were included before, but were now missing, that’s great! Don’t fret though if you couldn’t; this census had much more useful info to gather, that was not on any of the censuses beforehand! The 1880 U.S. Census now also included much more detailed categories and information such as the RELATIONSHIP of each in the household to the head of household, as mentioned above; whether anyone was single, married, widowed or divorced; the number of months unemployed during the year; sickness or temporary disability; whether maimed, crippled, bedridden, or otherwise disabled; and the BIRTHPLACE OF EACH HOUSEHOLD MEMBER’S PARENTS!
This census also had 2 other new details added, that would have proved to be extremely useful: the house number and street, but I have yet to see a single one in my family tree or that of any of my clients that have those details filled out; although, I guess it’s because none of them were living in major cities at that time, but mostly rural areas.☹️
Use the data on this census to discover previously unknown children, in-laws, and other relatives living with the family; as a clue to family medical conditions and genetic diseases in the family; and as a starting point for researching additional ancestors, by using the information it provides for the birth of each individual household member’s parents! 😉
As previously mentioned, depending on where and by whom the census was taken, I usually don’t find this census filled out consistently, and the last categories are underreported, but if it is, then you have a lot of details to help you in your research! EVERY detail/clue helps in genealogy! 😉
Follow my other posts on the U.S. Census in Genealogy Records below:
The 1870 U.S. Census: A Closer Look
The 1860 U.S. Census: A Closer Look
The 1850 U.S. Census: One of the Golden Genealogy Records
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