Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Special Censuses

Special Censuses Counted More Than People

By Sharon Tate Moody
Tampa Bay Online

How much corn, potatoes, flax, sugar and honey did your great-great grandfather farmer produce in 1860? How successful was your great grandfather's small manufacturing business in 1880? How many men and women did he employ and what did he pay them?

Where would a researcher find such revealing information about their ancestors? In the census — but not the one we usually refer to as "the census."

Researchers are most familiar with the national population survey taken every 10 years since 1790. Those records vary in the information they provide; the census initially began to determine population for elected representation.

But the government also wanted other information, so it created a variety of surveys, called schedules, which provided insight and clues for researchers.

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