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 U.S. Federal 1840 Census Records

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The U.S. Federal 1840 Census

1840 Census

The 1840 census was begun on 1 June 1840. The enumeration was to be completed within nine months but was extended to eighteen months.

Questions Asked in the 1840 Census
Name of head of household; number of free white males and females in age categories 0 to 5, 5 to 10, 10 to 15, 15 to 20, 20 to 30, 30 to 40, 40 to 50, 50 to 60, 60 to 70, 70 to 80, 80 to 90, 90 to 100, over 100; number of slaves and free “colored” persons in age categories; categories for deaf, dumb, and blind persons and aliens; town or district; and county of residence.

Additionally, the 1840 census, asked for the first time, the ages of revolutionary war pensioners and the number of individuals engaged in mining, agriculture, commerce, manufacturing and trade, navigation of the ocean, navigation of canals, lakes and rivers, learned professions and engineers; number in school, number in family over age twenty-one who could not read and write, and the number of insane.

Research Tips for the 1840 Census
The same research strategies used in the previous census apply to the 1840. A significant bonus comes from the question regarding revolutionary war pensioners. A search of revolutionary war sources (see chapter 9, Research in Military Records) may provide a wealth of genealogical information. A refinement of the occupation categories makes it possible to pursue other occupational sources and easier to distinguish individuals of the same name in the ever-growing population. Reading and writing skills and some indication of the educational level attained add an interesting and more personal dimension to a family history. An indication of the “insane” within a household might point to guardianship or institutional records.

 Census Records
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