Our “Best of Family Tree Magazine” series, which delivered advice from our pages back to our inaugural year in 2000, draws to a close with this week’s guidance about a lesser-known genealogical resource: special censuses.
These extra enumerations, usually taken at the same as the regular federal census, focused on certain segments of the population, from the “defective, dependent and delinquent” (1880) to farmers (1850 through 1880 records survive).
This excerpt from our July 2009 article by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack tells you about special censuses relating to veterans:
The US and state governments counted veterans a number of times, both during and between regular censuses.
Revolutionary War pensioners: Names and ages of these pensioners were recorded on the backs of 1840 population census sheets. Their names are in A Census of Pensioners for Revolutionary or Military Services, available free through Google Books.
1890 veterans schedule: Although the bulk of the 1890 census was destroyed, the schedules of Union veterans and surviving widows survived for half of Kentucky and the states alphabetically following it. Check this census even if your ancestor fought for the Confederacy. Although enumerators were supposed to count Union veterans, some also recorded those who fought for the South. Officials who reviewed the schedules in Washington, DC, simply drew lines through the Confederates’ names, leaving them still readable. The schedules are online at Ancestry.com and on microfilm at the Family History Library (FHL) and National Archives facilities, as well as large genealogical libraries.
What can you learn from this enumeration? The name of the veteran or his widow, rank, company, regiment or vessel, dates of enlistment and discharge, length of service, disabilities and remarks such as whether the veteran received a pension. As with population schedules, you don’t know whether James or someone else supplied the information, so look for a military service record to corroborate the data.
Special military schedules: During the 1900, 1910 and 1920 federal population censuses, enumerators created separate schedules for military personnel, including those stationed on naval vessels and at US bases overseas. For 1900, these are on National Archives microfilm T623, rolls 1,838 to 1,842 (find a Soundex index on film T1081, rolls 1 to 32). For 1910, military and naval enumerations are on film T624, roll 1,784; there’s no Soundex. The 1920 schedules for overseas military and naval forces are on film T625, rolls 2,040 to 2,041; the Soundex is on film M1600, rolls 1 to 18.
The 1930 population census included servicemen, but you’ll find special schedules for merchant seamen serving on vessels. Search them on Ancestry.com, or browse them on microfilm at the FHL and National Archives.
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