Obituary and Death Notice Archives
The Mortality Schedules - In 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880 census enumerators were directed to secure in addition to the usually
required census data, information as to all persons dying within the 12 months preceding the census taking. These lists became
known as the "Mortality Schedules". See this great article: Stories in U.S. Mortality Schedules for more information.
The mortality schedules usually included the date and cause of death. Some online transcriptions do not include all data found
on the original mortality schedule images. Hundreds of counties have been transcribed and and placed online.
MortalitySchedules.com has sought these transcriptions out and have listed them here. The search box below can be used to
perform a search. A more complete fee-based mortality schedules search can be made at Ancestry.com at this location.
This free site is made possible by sponsored links to Rootsweb, owned by Ancestry.com
From Nonpopulation Census Records
Mortality schedules record deaths in the year preceding the taking of the census. For example, the 1860 mortality schedules include persons who died between June 1, 1859 and May 31, 1860. For each person, the following information is listed: name, age, sex, marital status if married or widowed, state or country of birth, month of death, occupation, cause of death, and the length of the final illness.
These schedules may be the only record of death for some individuals, as many states did not require recording of deaths until the late nineteenth century. In addition, gravestones or cemetery records may be nonexistent. For example, a comparison of the 1860 Geauga County mortality schedule with Violet Warren and Jeannette Grosvenor, A Monumental Work: Inscriptions and Interments in Geauga County, Ohio, Through 1983 (Evansville, IN: Whipporwill Publications, 1985), found 52 persons for whom there is no gravestone or other record of burial in that county. There were also 58 children born after the 1850 census whose only 'census record' is the 1860 mortality schedule. It may also be the only record of existence for children who have no gravestone."
From The News, Frederick, Maryland, April 27, 1900:
"Many Persons Want to Be Census Enumerators
SUPERVISOR HARRINGTON BUSY.
He Will Announce the Names of the 140 Appointees for This District Next Month - Duties and Rights of the Enumerators.
Mr. A. H. Harrington, census supervisor for this district, is busy preparing for the work of taking the census. He has received over 500 applications for appointments as enumerators and clerks but will not announce the list of appointees until some time next month. He will have the appointment of about 140 enumerators and clerks for the entire district, of which forty will be for this city and county. There will be seven enumerators for this city.
The taking of the census will begin on June 1 and must be completed within thirty days. The work of taking the census of this city must be completed within two weeks. The enumerators will be required to report each day to Supervisor Harrington and he will report daily to the Census Bureau in Washington.
The director of the census has just issued the instructions to enumerators. The instructions are embraced in a neat pamphlet of sixty-four pages and cover every detail of the work that is to be accomplished. It begins with a concise statement of the principal features of the census act and gives explicit instructions to enumerators as to the duties that they are to perform.
Under the head of "Enumerators' Rights" it is pointed out that the census act provides that they shall have the right of admission to every dwelling, and to every manufacturing or mechanical establishment, for the purpose of obtaining information for the census office.
Enumerators have the right to put every question contained in the census schedules and to obtain answers to each and all of them. Enumerators are cautioned not to obtrude needlessly upon any person, and it is of the utmost importance, the director states, that the manner of the enumerator should, under all circumstances, be courteous and conciliatory. Should objection be made to answering any of the questions, a note of the same should be made and the fact reported to the supervisor.
Enumerators must not accept any statement which they believe to be false, and they are charged not to communicate to any person any information obtained in the discharge of their duties. Enumerators are cautioned not to show their schedules or in any way give information bearing upon the same. In canvassing a district, enumerators have not the right to omit any dwelling, establishment or residence, nor to enter upon a schedule of population the name of any fictitious person or persons, and for a willful falsification of the returns a fine, not exceeding $5,000, and imprisonment, not exceeding two years, may result.
In the enumeration of the population no enumerator will be permitted to act as a canvasser for newspapers, magazines, or the sale of any article, nor are enumerators permitted to delegate their authority to any other person. It is expected that the enumerators will devote at least ten hours every day, except Sundays, to the diligent canvassing of their district. Enumerators are cautioned not to lose time and money in their canvass. On entering a house they are to transact their business in the quickest possible time and leave the premises. All of the duties of enumerators are to be performed under the direction and control of the supervisor of the district, and he has authority to discharge for negligence, inefficiency, incompetence or misconduct of any sort. The department cautions the avoidance, as far as possible, of the use of interpreters, and says no expense should be incurred except where absolutely necessary. The compensation of interpreters, when necessary, will be $4 a day of ten hours.
Following this is a list of special instructions, which, gives in detail the method to be followed in filling out the schedules and the abbreviations that may be employed. These special instructions will contain definitions as to what constitute residents, mechanics, farmers, &c., so that it is impossible for the enumerator to go astray. Particular attention is called to the mortality schedules, and instructions as to the methods to be employed in obtaining the necessary figures under this head are most explicit. The director says there has heretofore been a grave deficiency in the number of deaths reported by the enumerators, and great care to obtain accurate answers to every question, especially those relating to age, occupation and cause of death, is insisted upon. Copies of this schedule will be sent to each enumerator throughout the United States."
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