Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Basic Census Documents for 20th and 19th Century Native American Research

A 1940 Federal Census Record Reflection Indian Family in Adair County Oklahoma
Source Citation: Year: 1940; Census Place: Wauhillau, Adair,Oklahoma; Roll: T627_3274; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 1-10.

The image above is a sample of a record from the 1940 Federal Census. It is reflecting a family in eastern Oklahoma and it is the first of series of images that reflect how Native families were enumerated over the years in the Federal Census. All of the documents in this article are 20th and 19th centuries and are from multiple states.

1930 Federal Census Record Reflecting a Family of Mixed Ancestry in Robeson County NC
Source Citation: Year: 1930; Census Place: Philadelphus, RobesonNorth Carolina; Roll: 1716; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 0037; Image: 856.0; FHL microfilm: 2341450.

1920  Federal Census Record from Banstable County, Massachusetts reflects a blended family
Source Citation: Year: 1920; Census Place: Mashpee, Barnstable,Massachusetts; Roll: T625_679; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 15; Image: 378.

1910 Special Indian Census from Suffolk County NY Reflection a Shinnecock Indian Community

A Close Up of the Bottom Half of Preceding Document. Note that this is a Bi-racial community and that this some of those enumerated were also graduates from the Indian School at Hampton Institute
Source Citation(for both images): Year: 1910; Census Place: Southampton, Suffolk, New York; Roll: T624_1082; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 1391; FHL microfilm: 1375095.

1900 Federal Census of a Nansemond Virginia Community

Close Up of portion of Preceding document. 
This census year only inquired about white blood of Indian enumerated on record.
Source Citation for both Images: Year: 1900; Census Place: Deep Creek, Norfolk,Virginia; Roll: 1719; Page: 17A; Enumeration District: 0034; FHL microfilm: 1241719.

1880 Federal Census record from Texas, San Jacinto County reflects an interesting blended family. Mingo is from Florida, while his wife and son in law are from Louisiana. Note that the son in law is enumerated as Mulatto, suggesting a mixed ancestry for him.
Source Citation: Year: 1880; Census Place:  , San Jacinto,Texas; Roll: 1325; Family History Film: 1255325; Page: 340C; Enumeration District: 150.

1870 Federal Census Record from Giles County TN shows a small blended family.

Close up of an unusual notation made at the bottom of the preceding document.
Source Citation: Year: 1870; Census Place: District 10, Giles, Tennessee; Roll: M593_1529; Page: 205B; Image: 415; Family History Library Film: 553028.

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It is sometimes assumed that Native Americans were not captured in the Federal Census until 1930 or even later. However, nothing can be further from being accurate. The mid 19th and 20th centuries left an amazing trail of census records. Communities were not always treated in the same method from state to state. However, it is worth taking note that American Indians were indeed captured in census records in multiple states. And I have shown some samples above of communities reflecting Indian communities and blended families from New England to Texas. Multiple states are presented here, to illustrate how widespread the enumeration of native communities actually was and how they can be found in standard records.

These records should be used as part of  standard genealogy research when documenting ancestors who may have been of Native ancestry. In other words--use these standard records before going to look at Indian rolls. It is imperative that the families are studied closely to make sure that you are on the right track with the right children and siblings. Some eager researchers will examine records such as Dawes rolls before concluding that their ancestors even resided in the communities where the Dawes interviews were conducted. Therefore standard genealogy methods should be employed throughout this process. There are some unique Indian records that will be discussed in a future article.


Root Digger said...

Thank you for this information and the samples of Census records and how the Native was captured within these documents.

It gives me some hope with my research. I will start looking deeper.

Unknown said...

This was very knowledgeable