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Census Tips: 1830 Census

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Map of county boundaries of NC at the beginning of 1830 The census day of the 1830 federal census occurred on June 1st and twelve months were allowed to complete the census. Information given was as of the census day, not the day of enumeration. In cases like this, the census may have been enumerated on  December 1st with an age given as 12, but that age was as of June 1, 1830, so it’s possible there was a birthday between the census day and the date of enumeration.

The 1830 census was the first to have a printed form for enumerators to use. Not only that, but there were two copies. After the census was finished, one copy went to Washington, D.C. while the other copy went to the clerk of the district court. Because of problems with missing pages with earlier censuses, the senate wanted to ensure that they would not have missing records. In some cases, copies that went to D.C. went missing and copies from the clerks of district courts were sent to replace them. The copies in D.C. were the only ones transferred to the National Archives.


Unlike some past years, the 1830 census had no other supplemental forms. Questions in the census asked for name of the head of the household, age ranges for white males, for white females, for slaves, for free persons of color, age ranges for any deaf, asked if any blind, any and aliens not naturalized.

As with all census records, there are a few issues that may cause trouble finding individuals. The biggest hindrance is spelling of names. Things that can affect spelling include accents and literacy of the enumerator. Some things may seem straight forward like Smith, but they could still be enumerated as Smithe, Smyth, or Smythe, for example.

Sometimes the writing can be faded, the page torn, or bad handwriting, which make things hard to read. A tip I have for discerning the letters in a name that are hard to read is to compare to other names within a few pages. For example, If you see a name that is new to you, but hard to read that looks like Joker, take a look at how the enumerator forms all the letters in the name. You might realize that Joker is actually another name. In this case, the first letter in James and Joseph looked the same;  I compared the -o and -er in Robert and it was very clear that it was -o, but not -er; I couldn’t find a -k to compare, but noticed it looked a lot like n -h. At this point, I had Joh-. I saw an Anna and realized the last letter was an -n giving the name John.

The Government and Heritage Library has microfilm and published indexes for all states that were enumerated, specifically: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida Territory, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan Territory, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia.

Come visit us at the Government and Heritage Library and check it out!

Further Reading

Dollarhide, William. The Census Book: A Genealogist’s Guide to Federal Census Facts, Schedules, and Indexes. North Salt Lake, UT: Heritage Quest, 2000.

Dollarhide, William. Census Substitutes & State Census Records: Volume 1 – Eastern States. Bountiful, UT: Family Roots Publishing Company, 2008.

“United States Census 1810.”

Hinckley, Kathleen W. Your Guide to the Federal Census for Genealogists, Researchers, and Family Historians. Cincinnati, OH: Betterway Books, 2002.

Leary, Helen F.M. North Carolina Research: Genealogy and Local History. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Genealogical Society, 1996.

Szucs, Loretto Dennis and Matthew Wright. Finding Answers in U.S. Census Records. Orem, UT: Ancestry, 2002.

Thorndale, William and William Dollarhide. Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Census, 1790-1920. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1987.

United States Census Bureau. “1790 Census Overview.”


Free printable charts:

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)



State Archives of North Carolina

Government and Heritage Library

State Docs Pick of the Week : Air Quality Color Guide

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Air Quality Color GuideThis Air Quality Color Guide is produced by the North Carolina Division of Air Quality, a part of the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The guide came out it in 2015 and explains air quality and the color system used to determine if the air quality is good or bad at a given time. The guide has a nice chart of the air quality color system and explains the parameters and guidelines for each color.

This guide also gives you tips on air care for the environment, how air quality affects health, who is at risk, how to protect your health, and how to get the daily air quality forecast.

You can view, download, print, and save this guide here.

Research in Abolished Counties: Clarendon, 1664-1667

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North Carolina in 1664.

If your ancestors came to North Carolina in the 1600s, there is a good chance they lived in an abolished county at some point. Most of the abolished or abandoned counties were created by 1700; Clarendon, one of three original counties, was one of those counties and was created in 1664. In three short years, it was abandoned.

For genealogy researchers, we are taught when boundaries change and new counties are formed that records created in the original or parent county are found there rather than the new county, but what about with abolished or abandoned counties? In the case of Clarendon County, records no longer exist, at least not within the state. It is possible records may exist in England. Rather than focus on the records, this post will focus on the county’s history and how other counties were formed from Clarendon.


State Doc Pick of the Week : NC Career Clusters Guide

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NC Career Clusters Guide title pageThe North Carolina Career Clusters Guide is a guide “designed to be a tool that targets the career pathways needed to meet educational and employment goals”. It was produced by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and the North Carolina Community College System.

This guide was created primarily for students, parents, counselors, faculty, and career changers. The guide covers: how to use the guide, discovering your career interests, clusters and their pathways, gaining career-related experience, experiencing real jobs, exploring the job market, and more.

The clusters are designed in a way that organize more than 900 careers. There are 16 clusters where each cluster is made up of occupations which require similar knowledge and skills.

Check out the guide to discover the 16 career clusters and take a look at the “Interest Profiler” self-assessment tool to identify which occupations may interest you.

You can view, download, print, and save this guide here.

This blog is a service of the State Library of North Carolina, part of the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. Blog comments and posts may be subject to Public Records Law and may be disclosed to third parties.