As genealogists we all use the federal population schedules (you know…the censuses). They are one of the most reliable tools in our research toolboxes when searching for ancestors in the United States—the hammers and duct tape of genealogy.
What are non-population schedules?
But what about those non-population schedules–you know (or maybe you are hearing this for the first time), the schedules for manufacturing, agriculture, mortality, and what were called “defective, dependent, and delinquent” classes. Maybe they are the 1/4″ socket wrench in your toolbox that doesn’t get used much, or maybe they don’t get used at all because you don’t know where to find them. (For a thorough discussion of non-population schedules see this article and links on the National Archives website.)
Well, maybe an agricultural schedule won’t give you the names of an entire household or your ancestor’s birthplace or date of immigration, but who wouldn’t like to know the value of their ancestor’s farm and farming implements, what crops they grew, and what kind of livestock they raised?
We can use these non-population schedules to inform us in the absence of land and tax records and for help in distinguishing between two people of the same name. Other non-population schedules provided valuable health and sociological data. The 1850 and 1860 agriculture schedules are also useful for those researching enslaved ancestors.
Here’s a snippit of the 1860 Agriculture Schedule for San Saba County, Texas, and the first two individuals on the page are my second and third great-grandfathers–Thomas Gooch and his father-in-law William Jennings. The third individual is Thomas’s brother-in-law Strampkey Jennings.
How do we find them? (The easy way!)
So how do we find these non-population schedules? The easiest way I know is to access tables in the FamilySearch Wiki which have links to online images and indexes for each state. Here’s what the table for California looks like, and a link to the page if you want to access the live links.
In the FamilySearch Wiki these tables exist for every state. Just enter the search terms “[State] census” and scroll down the results until you see the table.
The table contains links to images at Ancestry and FamilySearch. Pay attention to the different columns; if you have a personal Ancestry account use the “Ancestry Home” column, but if you are accessing it from a Family History Center or a library that has the institution version of Ancestry click on one of those columns for free access. FamilySearch has limited availability, but it is free.