Jan's Blog Flower



Now reading . . .

"Journey into the Whirlwind"
by Eugenia Semyonovna Ginzburg

"The Wind in the Willows"
by Kenneth Grahame

"The Kite Runner"
by Khaled Hosseini

"The Seven Daughters of Eve"
by Bryan Sykes

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I Would Love To See The 1890 Census

The United States Constitution mandates a census every ten years. The results of the census are used to allocate Congressional seats, electoral votes and funding for government programs. The first census after the American Revolution was taken in 1790. There have been 21 federal censuses since then. The one I am interested in is the 11th census taken in 1890. Famps’s mother died October 7, 1899 and we know very little about her. The first day of the census was June 1, 1890 and was to be completed by July 1, 1890. It cost 11.5 million dollars. The US population then was 63 million.

Questions Asked in the 1890 Census
• street name and house number in cities
• name, age, sex and race of each individual in the household
• relationship of each individual to head of household
• whether single, married, widowed, or divorced
• if married within the census year
• if a mother, number of children and number of those children still living
• Civil War veteran (Union or Confederate) or widow
• profession, occupation, or trade
• number of months unemployed during the census year
• place of birth (state, territory, or country)
• father's place of birth
• mother's place of birth
• number of years resided in the United States, if foreign born
• whether or not a naturalized citizen
• number of months at school within the preceding year
• whether able to read and write
• whether able to speak English
• language spoken, if not able to speak English
• name and duration of acute or chronic disease
• name of defect if defective in mind, sight, hearing, or speech or crippled, maimed, or deformed
• whether prisoner, convict, homeless child, or pauper
• whether home was owned or rented; and if mortgaged
• if head of family is a farmer, is the farm rented, or owned
• if farm is owned, then free or mortgage, plus post office address

Now they want to know how many toilets you have.

This census is also notable because it is the only one for which the original data is no longer available. Almost all of it was destroyed in a fire in January 1921 in the Commerce Building in Washington D.C. Of the 62,979,766 people enumerated, only the records for 6,160 survived the fire. How sad is that?

And why is it that every time I want to check a census other than 1880 (which is free) I am invited to buy a membership in Ancestry.com? How did they get control of all the census records? Just asking.

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