Exhausted the possibilities of the 1870 and 1880 U.S. Census? Maybe not!
Page from the 1870 Census
Photo Credit: Idaho State Archives
Many researchers are familiar with the population schedules of the federal censuses. Much less well known are the "non-population" schedules—the agricultural, industrial, mortality, and other schedules—compiled between 1850 and 1910. These special schedules are rich with historical and genealogical information, but because the Census Bureau returned the originals to the states before the creation of the National Archives, copies are harder to come by and those that do exist are often not indexed.
The Idaho State Archives holds both the only original hard-copies and one of only a handful of microfilm copies of the 1870 and 1880 Agricultural, Industrial, Mortality, Prison, Social Statistical and Supplemental Schedules for Idaho.
The information in these schedules goes well beyond that found in the more familiar population schedules. For instance, agricultural schedules contain the following data for each farm enumerated: landowner; number of laborers hired; acreage owned (tilled, untilled, leased); livestock owned; crops, produce, and timber raised; orchards, nurseries and vineyards owned; structures and fences erected or maintained; and more.
Similarly, industrial schedules contain name of owner, name of business, capital (real and personal) invested, number of employees (both highest and average numbers), hours and wages of employees, value of materials used, value of products manufactured, and types and amounts of power used (water, steam, horse). Separate industrial schedules were required for general manufacturing, lumber mills, saw mills, brick yards, tile works, flour and grist mills, cheese, butter and condensed milk factories, slaughtering and meat-packing works, and salt works, among other industries.
For persons who died between June 1, 1869 and May 31, 1870, the 1870 Mortality Schedule contains name, place of birth and occupation of the deceased, birthplaces of the parents of the deceased, month, year and cause of death, length of residence (in months or years) at place of death, and name of the attending physician. The historical and genealogical potential of information like this cannot be overstated. Other schedules enumerate prisoners, and persons considered "defective, dependent or delinquent."