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United States Census, Mortality Schedules, 1850 (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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United States Census (Mortality Schedule), 1850
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
United States
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US Flag 1848-1851
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National Archives and Records Administration Logo
Record Description
Record Type Mortality Schedules
Record Group RG 29: Records of the Bureau of the Census
Collection years 1849-1850
Microfilm Publication T655. Federal Mortality Schedules, 1850-1880 (formerly in the custody of the Daughters of the American Revolution), and Related Indexes. 30 rolls.
National Archives Identifier 5634766
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
National Archives and Records Administration


What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]

The collection consists of an index and images of mortality schedules listing inhabitants of the United States who died between June 1849 and May 1850. This was the first time a mortality schedule was included with the general population census schedule. Searchable data and browse are available for the following: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia. Mortality schedules are not available at all for other states. The schedules consist of large printed forms filled in by the census enumerators.

Mortality schedules are a national level file of state-by-state death registers for the year prior to the federal census. Mortality schedules exist for the census year 1850, 1860, and 1880. Census enumerators requested information from the head of household about deaths that had occurred in the year prior to the census. In 1918 to 1919, the Bureau of the Census distributed the original schedules to states or to the National Library of the Daughters of the American Revolution when states were not interested. Mortality schedules list those deceased during the year prior to the census. This is a small percentage of the total population. At the time of the 1870 census, it was surmised that as many as one-third of all deaths were not reported. For instance, when a family was scattered by the death of the head of household, there was no one left to report it. In 1880 a supplemental report from attending physicians added 60,000 additional names to the schedules.

In the absence of vital registration in many states, mortality schedules provided nationwide death statistics for one year of each decade, 1850–1880. According to the official statistical report for 1870, this was done to assess the death rate for age-groups, sex, race, nationality, and occupation and to “deduc[e] the effect of the various conditions of life upon the duration of life.”

Census mortality schedules are usually accurate, but this accuracy depended on the knowledge of the informant and the care of the census enumerator.

To Browse This Collection[edit | edit source]

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for United States Census (Mortality Schedule), 1850.

What Can These Records Tell Me?[edit | edit source]

The following information may be found in these records:

Mortality schedules

  • Name, age, gender, and color of deceased
  • Free person or slave
  • Whether married or widowed
  • Birthplace (state, territory, or country)
  • Month in which death occurred
  • Occupation (profession or trade)
  • Cause of death
  • If parents were foreign born (1870 Census only)
  • Length of residence in the United States (1880 Census only)
  • Father’s and mother’s birthplace (1880 Census only)

Collection Content[edit | edit source]

Sample Image[edit | edit source]

How Do I Search This Collection?[edit | edit source]

To begin your search you will need to know:

  • The full name of your ancestor.
  • The age of your ancestor.
  • The residence of your ancestor.
  • The month your ancestor died.

Search the Index[edit | edit source]

Search by name by visiting the Collection Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes on the Collection Page with the information you have
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

View the Images[edit | edit source]

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page

  1. Select State
  2. Select County
  3. Select Township or Other Division of County to view the images

How Do I Analyze the Results?[edit | edit source]

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?[edit | edit source]

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Use the death information to search for obituaries
  • Use the death information to search for a cemetery record
  • Use the death information to search for a probate record
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
  • You may need to compare the information of more than one family or person to make this determination.
  • Be aware that, as with any index, transcription errors may occur.

I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for alias names, nicknames and abbreviated names.
  • Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals that may be your ancestor.

Research Helps[edit | edit source]

The following articles will help you in your research for your family in the United States.


Citing This Collection[edit | edit source]

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details page in the section Citing this Collection.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?[edit | edit source]

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.