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Determining the Facts

Document 1 - Selection from 1850 Population Census Schedule for Hadley Township, Pike County, Illinois
[Document 1] with link to larger version of photo.

Transcription of selected text from Document 1.

The U. S. Constitution requires the population of the country to be counted every ten years. In the 1800s and into the 1900s, census enumerators visited every property, recording the name, age, marital status, place of origin, race, occupation and value of real estate for each person they found. The census administrators created racial categories, such as white, black, and mulatto, with which each individual was to be classified by the enumerators. Census reports were used to determine the number of Congressmen who would represent the state in the House of Representatives and to set up tax districts. This document is a page from the 1850 United States federal census listing Frank McWorter and all the people living in the McWorter household the day the census was recorded. Note how the census enumerator spelled McWorter."

The census records do not identify exactly where people lived. Because we know that Frank McWorter lived directly outside New Philadelphia, it is likely that the people listed after his family lived in the town. Information found in land deeds, maps, and historical reports also helped define who lived there.

Questions for Document 1

1. Why do you think government officials required census enumerators to identify every citizen in the country by name?

2. According to this page, where was Frank McWorter born? How much real estate did he own?

* The image on this screen is small and therefore will print poorly. You can obtain a larger version of Document 1, but be aware that the file will take as much as 32 seconds to load with a 28.8K modem.

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