Monday, July 25, 2011

Tuesday's Tip - Inputting Data on the 1850 Census, Schedule 2

1850 U.S. Federal Census, Schedule 2

Last week I posted the Schedule 1 for the 1850 census which for the first time only collected data on free inhabitants of the United States.  This is the first census where slaves were counted in a completely separate schedule, so we've got to have a separate inputtable form to go with it right here!

Whether we are researching our own genealogy as descendants of slaves or slave owners or researching someone else's, it is certainly convenient to have a form that you can transcribe to and save!

At this point in my blog post, I would normal start directing you to websites such as or the site for the U.S. Census Bureau.  While those sites are worth checking out as I mentioned in last week's census post, they are rather lacking with details on the Slave Schedules.  Perhaps I missed something.

I have previously glossed over the information on Ancestry's website, not because there isn't information worth sharing, but it's like beating a dead horse.  Been there, done that, everyone's used their site before.  In this instance, however, I do defer to quite a well-written source explanation that they posted from William Dollarhide's, The Census Book: A Genealogist's Guide to Federal Census Facts, Schedules and Indexes (affiliate link) and Loretto Dennis Szucs', "Research in Census Records." in The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy (affiliate link). Check out the excerpt on Ancestry's 1850 Slave Schedule census page for some great information before diving in.

Some good general information on census research on  One page of stuff that we pretty much already know, but it's always a good to be reminded of some things! has a sweet little article written by Kimberly Powell on jewels we can find in all the special census schedules.  If you haven't worked with any of the special schedules yet, this article will get you ready to jump in.

Perhaps my favorite site so far for Schedule 2 is an essay written by David E. Paterson on Afrigeneas which points out that the schedules were controversial and rewritten specifically to exclude the names of the individual slaves, places of birth, etc.  It's really a very interesting essay, but be warned it may get your blood going when you have to read through the prejudice of the past.

As always, if you have any trouble viewing or downloading the spreadsheet, just comment or send me an email and I'll see what I can do to fix it.  So far there hasn't been any trouble since the very first sheet I posted.

When you view the census through Google documents it does appear as if it were 3 pages, but rest assured that when downloaded it looks like the image at the top of the blog and in one simple page.  The sheet is locked so you can't accidentally erase the headers and you can only input in the blanks.

One word of warning.  I couldn't figure out how to wrap the text so the cells would fill in the entire left side of the form and then start again in the right column.  So right now when you hit "tab" it will move across the entire row before wrapping around.  I've been trying to look up ways to assign cell order, but so far, no good.  Just keep your eyes on where you're typing!

Let me know if there are any mistakes as well.  I'm sure you can imagine my eyes were starting to go crossed by the time I was done with this form!  Corrections and suggestions are always welcome!

Next week I'll be traveling back home to Texas so we'll see if I can get the next schedule out and ready to go before then!  Until next time, have fun tending those roots!