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Census Warning: Many census takers were uneducated, poorly trained and/or irresponsible such as when the town drunk was the mayor's nephew <g>). Families were often omitted; sometimes the "informant" was a child or neighbor, and replies may have been guesswork; sometimes the census enumerator, who was paid by the head, forged/guessed replies in order to avoid re-visiting the HH when no one was home. Poor memory and lack of understanding of the questions could also elicit incorrect responses. In other words, it is necessary to seek all records, not just a particular year. Studying tax lists can also be of help (tax lists, unlike the census, were usually accurate since they were "money-makers.")

HH = Head of HH     FWM = Free White Males     FWF = Free White Females.

US Census Legends English Census Legends

US Census Legends

Note: The following is primarily for "interpreting" the formats usually seen on our Combs Counties of Record. For an excellent tutorial and accurate facts on the US Federal Census, see the US Federal Census by Treasure Map.

1790 - First federal census of the United States. States included were Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia; however, not all are extant. Only name of HH, who is also included in statistics, is given.

FWM 16+FWM -16All FWF All other FreeSlaves
12345

1800 - Second federal census of the US. A number of states, particularly southern, are missing in whole or in part. In abbreviated form, usually listed as: 00000-00000-00, with the 5 columns on the left representing males, the next 5, females; the 11th "Other Free;" and the 12th, slaves. Only name of HH, who is also included in statistics, is given.

Free White Males Free White Females All Other Free*Slaves
0-910-1516-25 26-4445+0-9 10-1516-2526-44 45+
123456789101112

*except Indians not taxed

1810 3rd Federal Census of the US. Some states/counties missing. Only name of HH, who is also included in statistics, is given.

Free White Males Free White Females Free Negroes*Slaves
0-910-1516-25 26-4445+0-9 10-1516-2526-44 45+Indians
123456789101112

1820 - 4th Federal Census. Only name given is head of household. Some states/counties missing

Free White Males Free White Females Other free* Slaves
0-910-1516-18* 16-2526-4445+ 0-910-1516-25 26-4445+
12345678910111213

*Males between the ages of 16 and 18 were also liable for militia duty. They will be listed in both the 16-18 column and the 16-25 column. **Except Indians not taxed. Note: This census includes other columns, including questions regarding foreigners who are not naturalized, answers to questions re whether engaged in agriculture, commerce, etc. plus "Free colored persons" do not appear in the "All Other Free" column. As is often seen, the Combs &c. Research Group lists as above except when additional data is available, in which case it is listed separately.

1830 Federal (US) Census. Free white males and females are generally (in Combs &c. Research Reports) listed as above, with males to left of hyphen (-) and females to right. With the exception of those under 20, the age increments were ten years up to "over 100."

EX: 105011-0312010001

Males:
0 to under 5 = 1
5 to under 10 = 0
10 to under 15 = 5
15 to under 20 = 0
20 to under 30 = 1
30 to under 40 = 1

Females:
0 to under 5 = 0
5 to under 10 = 3
10 to under 15 = 1
15 to under 20 = 2
20 to under 30 = 0
30 to under 40 = 1
(skip)
70 to under 80

1840 Federal (US) Census. Only name of HH is given with the exception that federal pensioners were listed separately with identification as to HH. Standard abbreviations for statistics are: Example: 01010- 02210 - 06. Otherwise, legend is same as 1830.

1850 Federal (US) Census: Includes names of all Free Persons,* beginning with HH, with ages and birth states. It does not specify relationships. Check boxes are included for "other color"; literacy; if attended school and/or if married within the census year.

*A separate slave schedule listed slave owner, numbers, age and sex of slaves.

Printable Form (The USGenWeb Census Project®)

1860 Federal (US) Census

D n
w u
e m
l b
l e
i r
n  
g  
 
F n
a u
m m
i b
l e
y r
NameDescription Occupation, etc.Value of Estate Owned BirthplaceMarried within the yearSchool within the yearCannot read or writeWhether a pauper or a convict
A
g
e
S
e
x
C
o
l
o
r
Value of real estateValue of personal property
1234567891011121314

Printable Form (The USGenWeb Census Project®)

1870 Federal (US) Census

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w u
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l b
l e
i r
n  
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F n
a u
m m
i b
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Name Description Occupation, etc. Value of Estate Owned Birthplace F
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F
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Education Whether
deaf
and
dumb,
blind,
insane,
idiotic,
pauper,
or convict
Constitutional Relations
A
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Value of real estate Value of personal property C
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1234567891011121314151617181920

Printable Form (The USGenWeb Census Project®)

1880 Federal (US) Census

Also includes birth state of father and mother

In Cities D n
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l b
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F n
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Name Personal Description I  
f  
 
b y
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C n
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Relationship of
each person
to the head of this family --
whether wife,
son, daughter,
servant, boarder,
or other
Civil Condition M
a
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r
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d

d
u
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C
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Y
e
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r
Occupation Is the person
(on the day of the
enumerators visit)
sick, or temporarily
disabled, so as to
be unable to attend
to ordinary business
or duties? If so, what
is the sickness
or disability
Health Education Place of birth of this
person, naming State
or Territory of
United States, or the
Country, if of
foreign birth.
Place of birth of the
father of this person,
naming State or
Territory of
United States, or the
Country, if of
foreign birth.
Place of birth of the
mother of this person,
naming State or
Territory of
United States, or the
Country, if of
foreign birth.
N
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W
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Profession, Occupation
or Trade of each person,
male or female
N  
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m u
b n
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s p
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m d
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b d
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A w
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d t
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1234567891011121314151617181920212223242526

Printable Form (The USGenWeb Census Project®)

1890 Federal (US) Census. Not extant for the most part

1900 Federal (US) Census.

Printable Form (The USGenWeb Census Project®)

Also includes month born; if married, number of children born, both living and dead, and number of years married.

1920 Federal (US) Census

Printable Forms (The USGenWeb Census Project®)
Pg. 1 - Pg. 2


English Census Legends

1851 - Still Needed


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