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.
Genealogy Research,  How To,  Uncategorized

Is Your Ancestor In The Often Overlooked Non-Population Schedules of 1850-1880?

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Let’s jump outside of the genealogy box again and explore non-population schedules.

You know the ones?  Those census schedukes taken beside the “regular census” in 1850-1880 collecting a variety of additional information.

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.

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. Also, find the information you learn from a non-population schedule can point you to new clues and record sources not previously searched.

Panthea…..insane?!

Hmm….. could I learn more about 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:

  1. Agriculture
  2. Manufacturing/Industrial
  3. Defective, Dependent and Delinquent (Our focus in this post.)
  4. Mortality
  5. Slave
  6. 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.

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. Also, find the information you learn from a non-population schedule can point you to new clues and record sources not previously searched.

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 had 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.]

FamilySearch has a few states’ non-population schedules such as Illinois and Iowa.

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:

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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 no previously searched.

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5 Comments

    • LisaL

      So glad you found the post helpful. Those non-population schedules are often overlooked, but provide a lot of insight into our ancestors’ lives.

    • Nancy C

      I found my 2x great grandmother Catherine Ryan Gilbride in the same schedule at Danville Asylum in Montour County, PA. The PA Archives hold those records and I was also able to get her patient records. She was 26 when admitted in 1877 after bearing a stillborn child, and suffering from “puerperal mania.” She never left, dying of pneumonia in 1881. She left one child, my great grandfather John Joseph Gilbride. So fortunate to be able to find her story.

      • LisaL

        Yes, I’m so glad you were able to tell her story! So many stories like Catherine’s get lost. I do find some states are more open with those records than others. Here in NC, I cannot access my great grandmother’s asylum records, but in neighboring VA, I can search asylum records for an ancestor.

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