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Source Information

Jackson, Ronald V., Accelerated Indexing Systems, comp. 1850 United States Federal Census. [database on-line] Provo, UT: Ancestry.com, 1999-. Compiled and digitized by Mr. Jackson and AIS from microfilmed schedules of the 1850 U.S. Federal Decennial Census.1850 United States Federal Census. [database online] Provo, UT: Ancestry.com, 2001. Data imaged from National Archives and Records Administration. 1850 Federal Population Census. M432, 1,009 rolls. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration.

About 1850 United States Federal Census

This database details those persons enumerated in the 1850 United States Federal Census, the Seventh Census of the United States. In addition, the names of those listed on the population schedule are linked to the actual images of the 1850 Federal Census, copied from the National Archives and Records Administration microfilm, M432, 1,009 rolls. (If you do not initially find the name on the page that you are linked to, try a few pages forward or backward, as sometimes different pages had the same page number.) Note that at this time the entries from the slave schedules for this census year, are not linked to their corresponding images.

For the first time enumerators of the 1850 census were instructed to record the names of every person in the household. Added to this, enumerators were presented with printed instructions, which account for the greater degree of accuracy compared with earlier censuses. Enumerators were asked to include the following categories in the census: name; age as of the census day; sex; color; birthplace; occupation; value of real estate; whether married within the previous year; whether deaf, dumb, blind, or insane; whether a pauper; whether able to read or speak English; and whether the person attended school within the previous year. No relationships were shown between members of a household. The categories allowed Congress to determine persons residing in the United States for collection of taxes and the appropriation of seats in the House of Representatives.

This updated release includes the records for the following states: AL, AR, CT, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, IA, KY, ME, MD, MA, MI, MS, MO, NH, NJ, NM, NC, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, TX, UT, VT, VA, and WI. The following rolls of film, within this updated release, have not yet been linked to federal census images by Ancestry.com, and thus can not be searched in this linked index, M432: 1, 11, 31, 56-57, 63, 74, 85, 122, 137-138, 205, 209, 214, 223-228,229, 234, 235, 238-241, 300-302, 380, 399, 412, 465, 467-468, 481, 523, 554, 615, 629, 669, 680, 692, 704, 713-714, 716-717, 722, 763, 802, 806, 848-849, 909, 927-931, 934, 961, 1000-1002, 1006-1009 ; and all the rolls corresponding to slave schedules. They have however been indexed and can be searched in the separate, unlinked, U.S. Federal Census indexes at U.S. Federal Census index. For details on the contents of the film numbers that have not been linked yet, visit the following N.A.R.A. web page: N.A.R.A.. The linked images for these rolls of film will be made available on Ancestry.com in the near future. This database is certain to prove useful for those seeking early American ancestors.

The United States was the first country to call for a regularly held census. The Constitution required that a census of all "Persons...excluding Indians not taxed" be performed to determine the collection of taxes and the appropriation of seats in the House of Representatives. The first nine censuses from 1790-1870 were organized under the United States Federal Court system. Each district was assigned a U.S. marshal who hired other marshals to administer the census. Governors were responsible for enumeration in territories.

The official enumeration day of the 1850 census was 1 June 1850. All questions asked were supposed to refer to that date. By 1850, there were a total of thirty-one states in the Union, with Florida, Texas, Iowa, Wisconsin and California being the latest editions. The four new territories of Oregon, Minnesota, New Mexico and Utah were also enumerated. There were no substantial state or district wide losses.

Taken from Chapter 5: Research in Census Records, The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy by Loretto Dennis Szucs; edited by Loretto Dennis Szucs and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking (Salt Lake City, UT: Ancestry Incorporated, 1997).

William Dollarhide, The Census Book: A Genealogist's Guide to Federal Census Facts, Schedules and Indexes, Heritage Quest: Bountiful, UT, 2000.