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Census Records: Federal Non-Population Census

Federal, state, and other census records

What are non-population censuses?

The goal of the federal population census was to count all people living in the United States.  Non-population censuses were often taken at the same time to get data on other aspects of America.  

  • Quantify available resources in agriculture, business, and manufacturing
  • Learn more about social issues like mortality

Accessing Non-Population Census Records

Microfilm
The Federal Agriculture, Manufacturing, Mortality, and Social Statistics Schedules for Minnesota in 1860, 1870, and 1880 are all available on microfilm in the Library.  For more information and a specific list of what is on each reel of film, see the Digital Finding Aid.

The non-populations schedules for 1850 are available on microfilm, as part of the Minnesota Territorial Census Schedules.  For more information and a specific list of what is on each reel of film, see the Digital Finding Aid.

 

Online
Non-population schedules can also be searched with Ancestry.com (subscription required; visit the Library to use our subscription for free):

Agricultural

Minnesota agricultural schedules are available  for 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880.  Smaller farms were excluded from these censuses.  The definition of "small" changed over time, but was generally based on a minimum dollar amount of products produced annually.  

1850, 1860, and 1870 provide the following information for each farm enumerated:

  • G. S. Barnes and Company farm, GlyndonName of owner or manager
  • Acres: improved and unimproved 
  • Cash value of the farm, including farming machinery, livestock, animals slaughtered during the past year, and "homemade manufactures"
  • Amount of livestock owned (divided by type)
  • Amount of crops and other materials produced during the year (divided by type)

In addition, the 1880 agricultural census recorded:

  • Amount of acreage used for each kind of crop
  • Number of poultry
  • Number of eggs produced

 

Manufacturing

Minnesota manufacturing schedules are available for 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880, with the quantity and quality of data varying by year. For non-MN locations, there is a manufacturing schedule for 1820 and annotations were made on the 1810 population census.  Smaller manufacturing operations--those that produced less than $500 annually--were excluded from the schedules.  

Red Wing Furniture Factory, Red Wing, 1882

1850 and 1860 reported:

  • Name of the manufacturer and type of business or product
  • Amount of capital invested
  • Quantities, kinds, and value of raw materials used
  • Quantities, kinds, and value of product produced annually
  • Kind of power or machinery used
  • Number of men and women employed
  • Average monthly cost of labor

The amount of detail reported in these schedules increased in 1870 and 1880, and in 1880 supplemental forms were used to capture information about specific industries.    

Mortality

Minnesota mortality schedules are available for 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880.  They record deaths in the year directly before the census was taken, usually June to May.  

They reported:

  • Name of the deceased
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Marital status
  • State or country of birth
  • Month of death
  • Occupation
  • Cause of death
  • Length of the final illness

Social Statistics

Social statistics census records date from 1850 through 1870 and provide information about a community or "political subdivision." Unlike most other census schedules, these provide only statistical data, not information about specific individuals.

The information reported includes:

  • Value of real estate and annual taxes
  • Number of schools, teachers, and pupils
  • Number and type of libraries and the number of books they have
  • Name, type, and circulation of newspapers
  • Church denominations, the number of people each church can seat, and the value of their property
  • Number of native and foreign-born paupers and the cost of supporting them
  • Number of native and foreign-born criminals convicted and in prison
  • Average wages paid to farm hands, day laborers, carpenters, and female domestics

Hints for Searching in Non-population Census Records

  1. Search both the Agricultural and Manufacturing schedules.  Some farmers have significant businesses on the side, like cheesemaking or coopering.  
  2. Search in the location of the farm or the manufacturing interest, which might be different from the owner's residence.  

 

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