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Let’s jump outside of the genealogy box again!
In the 1880 census, my GGG grandmother Panthea Overby Elliott is listed as “insane”. The Elliott family includes her husband Elias Elliott, 7 children, and a housekeeper. The youngest child was just 1 year old.
Hmm….. could I learn more her and what this “insane” designation meant for her?
Yes. Yes, I can!
For this part of my research, I needed to explore the Non-Population schedules.
What are Non-Population Schedules?
Do you use them in your genealogy research?
Non-population schedules exist for 1850-1885 and were used to gather data on unique segments of the population. The information collected in these special schedules was used to determine the types of resources the government needed, how to allocate them, as well as looking at public health issues.
If your ancestor appears on the non-population schedules, you have a unique opportunity to learn more about them as individuals and their role in their community. In addition, the information you learn from a non-population schedule can point you to new clues and record sources not previously searched.
Six types of non-population schedules were used:
- Defective, Dependent and Delinquent (Our focus in this post.)
- Social Statistics
Each schedule had its own unique set of criteria and was not collected for every year. Not all schedules are included by each state. Just as with other record sets you research, determine the year(s) and location(s) the record spans and the type of information it entails before you “jump into your research”.
To learn more about Panthea Elliott a closer look at the Defective, Dependent and Delinquent schedule of 1880 was needed.
This particular DDD schedule is a bit difficult to read, so let me share with you the information gleaned on Panthea.
- Panthea was from the Clarkville Magistrate District (Mecklenburg County, VA).
- How Panthea’s care was paid for is difficult to decipher. We think her family paid for at least part of the cost based on the answers of the others listed on the page.
- Her “form of disease” was unknown. In other words, they were not sure what was causing her “insanity”.
- The duration of her present attack is 1 year. Hmmm…..Panthea had a one year old son at home. Could this be related to pregnancy or post-partum issues? Could there have been a medical event during delivery? At 42 years of age, her pregnancy would have been high risk.
- This was her first attack and she was 42 years old at the time the attack occurred.
- Panthea did not require to be restrained in a cell or by “mechanical” means (i.e. physical restraints).
- Panthea has been (and still was) in the Staunton, VA asylum for 1 year. A quick internet search reveals this was the Western State Hospital and the Library of Virginia holds the hospitals documents. Panthea’s residency in the asylum can account for the presence of Betty Goode, housekeeper, listed in the family household.
The DDD schedule tells us as researchers quite a bit more about Panthea Elliott. Taking what was learned from her DDD record, a search of the asylum’s records (which include patient records) at the Library of Virginia is warranted.
Note: Each state is different is its privacy laws regarding patient records. Some allow no access by researchers regardless of the age of the records. Others allow access if records are older than a determined date.
Where To Find Non-Population Schedules
Have you been convinced to look closer at the Non-population schedules? I hope so!
You can find the non-population schedules on Ancestry.com . [If you do not have a paid subscription check with your local library. Many have Ancestry.com that is accessible their patrons.]
You will find having a blank copy with easy to read headings helpful when researching these schedules (and any census record you research). Find these for free on the NARA website.
Find anything interesting on YOUR ancestor in a non-population schedule? Share in the comments below!
Other posts of interest:
- The 1890 Census – How To Research the “Genealogy Black Hole” Part 1
- The 1890 Census – Researching AROUND the “Genealogy Black Hole” – Part 2
- What Is The 1910 Census Telling You About Your Ancestor?
Pin for Future Reference!