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Census Tips: 1860 Census

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The 1860 census was the eighth federal census. Census day was June 1, 1860. Information collected in 1860 was almost identical to 1850. In the ten years between 1850 and 1860, two new states were created: Minnesota in 1858 and Oregon the following year. There were also several territories in 1860. New Mexico (which included Arizona) and Utah (included parts of Nevada and Colorado) territories were included in 1850. New territories in the 1860 census include the following: Kansas (includes area that became Colorado), Nebraska (includes parts of the area that became Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming), Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma, the enumeration of non-American Indians), and Washington (created when Oregon became a state, included parts of what became Idaho, western Montana and northwest Wyoming). All North Carolina counties that existed in 1860 were enumerated and there are no missing records.

Map of NC showing county borders. Text: North Carolina 1860

 

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Abolished Counties: Glasgow County

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If your ancestors came to North Carolina in the 1600s, there is a good chance they lived in an abolished county at some point. Some abolished counties, such as Glasgow County, were created after 1700. As genealogy researchers, we are taught when boundaries change and new counties are formed records created in the original county stay there rather than moved to the new county; however, that leads to the question of what happens with records created in abolished counties.

 

Map of NC counties in 1791 with Glasgow County in Blue

Glasgow County shaded in blue

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Census Tips: 1850 Census

NC county boundaries in 1850
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The 1850 census was the seventh federal census. Census day was June 1, 1850. Census day is when gathering information for the census began. All information was for the previous year ending on that day. Several changes happened with procedures and the type of information recorded. In 1850, the Census Office was created and began operation. The enumeration continued to be taken door to door, but the duties of the newly formed office was to collect the returns for each state and prepare reports. Until 1902 when the Census Office became its own federal agency, the office would disband after each enumeration was complete and form again in order to prepare for the next census in ten years.

NC county boundaries during the 1850 census

In addition to the original census schedule, two other copies were made. One copy was  given to the Secretary of State for each state or territory. Another copy was given to each county court for that county’s enumeration. It is important to keep that in mind while looking at the 1850 census and beyond. You may be looking at an  image of the original, but you might be looking at a copy, or even a copy of the copy. This presents a lot of room for human error.

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Tip of the week: Using Sanborn Maps

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Sanborn maps are a valuable research tool. These maps are fire insurance maps dating 1866-1959. Approximately 3,000 cities have Sanborn maps that cover all 50 U.S. states, Canada, and Mexico.

North Carolina maps include 145 towns within 85 counties; however, different cities have maps for different years. For example, the town of Hertford in Perquimans County has maps for the years of 1916, 1923, 1929-1940. On the other hand, Concord in Cabarrus County has maps dated 1885, 1887, 1892, 1897, 1902, 1906, 1911, 1921, and 1927.

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